Thursday we drag our asses on a isolated parts of Cebu. Endure a three-hour bumpy ride, hike on a muddy road and cross a wild river to find out the truth about what had happened to those peasants in the area.
Nov. 9, 2007
a team was assembled to go to Barangay Gaang, Tuburan, Cebu. Objectives, first find out what had happened to the people in Gaang after the first fact finding team (they recovered the 8 yrs. old girl who was kidnapped by the 78Th infantry battalion of the Phil. Army) left. second document any harassment that the Arm Forces have done to the people. third give human rights orientation to the people in order for them to protect themselves from the abusers. target day to start the mission was Thursday Nov. 15, 2007.
we are all ready to go. we already prepared everything, from the equipments to our personal things. all system was go!
when we cam to the town that was the start of the agony. the mayor didn't gave us an endorsement that left the team no choice but to wait for it on the next day. so the members of the team went to Marmol barangay to spent a night there. the other two members went back to the city and will return to the mayor's office on the morning.
the team leader gathered the team and told the team that we will give a human rights orientation on the people of Marmol on the next day around 9 am while waiting for the endorsement letter. people were given topics that they will discuss on the next day.
Friday Nov. 16, 2007
two members went out to the barangay get the endorsement letter while another to went to the barangay captain to ask permission to use the barangay hall. while the rest of the team prepared the breakfast. 9:45am the Human Rights orientation begun and ended around 5 pm. four members of CAFGU was among the participants. the endorsement letter was still out of sight, because the mayor went to the city that day according to his secretary. they told the two member to return on Monday.
after the Human Rights orientation the team gather to update the rest of the team of the situation and decided to go to the houses of the members of a local organization in the area to check on their situation.
Saturday Nov. 17, 2007
the team broke into two team and went on the houses of the people.
Sunday Nov. 18, 1007
around 8:15 am a local spotted a number of AFP climbing their way to our direction. the team immediately gathered and planned what to do. we find out that they were with members of PNP. around 8:40 am while we were interviewing them what they were doing there, they called the owner of the house who was Arcenia and immediately when the owner faced them they serve the warrant or arrest.
to our surprised they have a warrant... qualified thief was their case. but what we have know is that it was dismissed last march but it was appealed to the higher courts.
the history of the land in question
actually the land in questioned is owned by the government (timberland) and not to a certain Verginia (land Lord) who filed a case against them. that's why the case was dismissed because in the first place the farmers who till the land was given power by the government to use it for farming. they were given certificates to prove it. so how come this people became thief if the own the products of the land? that is clear harassment to the people by a certain person to extract money from the poor farmers.
as soon as the farmers was handed by the warrant, we followed them all the way to the police station for moral and legal support. we stayed there for two night and two days until they were transferred to the provincial city jail.
another fact finding team is now being assembled to finished the objectives that we have left out. as of the farmers we are now doing all legal papers to get them out of jail as soon as possible.
we are needing financial aids and equipments to continue our advocacy. to those who are willing to help us. pls call ian belle 09064964572 or email firstname.lastname@example.org