Jailed human rights defender in Kalinga freed
BAGUIO CITY –– A Red-tagged human rights defender has been freed from detention in Kalinga province on Friday.
A regional trial court in Lubuagan town ordered the release of Beatrice Belen after dismissing on Thursday the charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives filed against her on Oct. 25 last year.
Belen was arrested in her residence at Barangay Uma in Lubuagan by police and Army troops who allegedly found three rifle grenades outside Belen’s house.
She is a regional council member of Innabuyog-Gabriela. She led Uma villagers in opposing Chevron Energy Company’s geothermal energy project in Kalinga from 2012 until her arrest.
In 2018, Belen received the Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan for her advocacy in protecting the environment against destructive projects.
Government troops have accused Belen of having ties with the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army. INQ