Farmers say they sought aid but got tagged as Reds
TUGUEGARAO CITY — The farmers’ group Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon ti Cagayan Valley (Danggayan) has assailed the military and Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba for allegedly luring farmers and members of the left-wing Anakpawis party-list group to attend a meeting where they were branded as communist rebels who were surrendering to the government.
Isabelo Adviento, Danggayan president, said members of the groups who attended the March 18 gathering were victims of recent calamities who were promised livelihood programs and assistance by the organizers.
“They (farmers and militants) were surprised when during the activity, they were tagged as supporters of the New People’s Army and were forced to surrender,” Adviento said.
He claimed that Mamba was behind the Red-tagging of farmers while the military staged the activity to make it appear that those who attended the event were rebels who had surrendered.
“Mamba, a former Liberal Party stalwart, who jumped ship to PDP-Laban, is now courting the support of the President [Duterte] and the administration party by joining the [military’s anticommunist stand],” Adviento added.
Danilo Ramos, a member of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, said his group would file charges against some military officials and Mamba at the Commission on Human Rights over what he described as “fake surrender.”
Mamba, however, denied the Danggayan claim, and insisted that the event was a mass surrender of former rebels and their supporters. “It’s a sign that the government is bent on helping the villagers,” he told the Inquirer.
The insurgency has been hampering Cagayan’s development, he said, adding that Chinese and Taiwanese investors had been planning to invest in the province but had been wary of communist rebels.
Mamba also cited the burning of heavy equipment of a construction firm in Alcala and Baggao towns. —VILLAMOR VISAYA JR.
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