NGOs: NCRPO targeting us for hosting ‘lumad’ children
MANILA, Philippines — Days after the arrest of some human rights workers in Palawan province, representatives of several nongovernment organizations (NGOs) on Monday “sounded the alarm” over reports that their offices would be raided by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) for harboring “lumad” (indigenous) children and training them to become activists.
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said they had received information that the NCRPO operatives were securing “illegal” arrest warrants for officials of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, Center for Environmental Concerns and Save Our Schools Network.
“For what crime? For hosting lumad children? They have supporting documents that will inform the public that their parents, schools and communities have given their consent for them to stay here,” Palabay said at a press conference in Diliman, Quezon City.
She added that the police were also applying for search warrants which could be used in conducting illegal searches and the planting of evidence to link them to a crime.
Palabay believed the threats were a direct follow-up to last week’s warrantless arrest in Palawan of seven human rights workers, including former Karapatan Southern Tagalog secretary general Glendhyl Malabanan, who were investigating reports of rights violations reportedly committed by government troops against farmers in Taytay town.
Sought for comment, Police Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, the NCRPO chief, denied the allegations. “Where did they get that information? As far as the NCRPO is concerned, I do not know such operations or case buildup we are conducting against them,” he told the Inquirer. —With a report from Dexter Cabalza
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