Quezon activist escaped from abduction
LUCENA CITY – On the eve of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program 24th anniversary, a farmer’s organizer and human rights worker in Quezon was abducted by still unidentified persons but eventually escaped Thursday, an official of militant peasant group in Southern Tagalog alleged Friday.
Axel Pinpin, secretary general of Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK), said that at around 10 a.m. one of the suspects hit Franklin Barrera, 18, with a hard object from behind and forced him inside a red van in Yumul Street, Barangay (village) Gomez, Lopez, Quezon.
Barrera became unconscious and found himself in a house in Barangay San Isidro near the Army’s 85th Infantry Battalion detachment, Pinpin said in a phone interview.
Pinpin said Barrera was able to escape through the backdoor and is now confined in a hospital in Atimonan, Quezon.
Pinyin said their will formally report the incident to the police today (Friday).
Pinpin identified Barrera as a farmer organizer in Quezon province and convenor of “Save Bondoc Peninsula Movement”, an alliance organized to stop human rights violations of state security forces in Bondoc Peninsula.
He suspected that the perpetrators of the failed abduction were “elements of the military.”
Col. Eduardo Año, commander of the Army’s 201st Brigade operating in Quezon, advised militant groups not to be too fast in their accusations against military men.
He said his office has yet to receive report on the alleged incident.
“I invite Mr. Barrera’s associates to come to my office and provide me with information. I assure them that if we find out that soldiers were involved, I will personally act on the matter,” Año said over the phone.
Pinpin said the incident was only one among the many cases of human rights violations in the province since the Armed Forces of the Philippines allegedly deployed eight battalions of soldiers in the area.
“The Aquino government obviously wants to preempt the people’s alliance campaign that will expose the real characteristic of its ‘people centered’ counter-insurgency program dubbed as Oplan Bayanihan,” he said.
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