THE Makabayan bloc described as “illegal” the detention of members of the National Solidarity Mission to Talaingod, Davao de Norte, including former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro.
The Makabayan, composed of at least five progressive party-lists, strongly condemned the illegal detention and charges filed against the delegates of the NSM.
Based on the information that reached the militant solons, the PNP-Talaingod fabricated the charge of “human trafficking in relation to child abuse law” against Ocampo and Castro.
“It would be a blatant and outrageous lie to accuse progressive lawmaker and former public school teacher Castro, former solon and peace advocate Ocampo, as well as the administrators of the Lumad school, as child traffickers,” the group said.
Central to the crime of trafficking of minors is the purpose of exploitation which includes at a minimum, the exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, servitude or the removal or sale of organs.
All these are completely counter to the objectives of the NSM team of giving relief to the students and teachers who are victimized by the threats, harassments and the eventual forcible closure of their schools by the paramilitary group Alamara under the 56th IB, Makabayan said.
On the contrary, these state forces are the ones who should be charged and tried in court for their criminal acts against the communities in Talaingod.
The charges filed against the members of the NSM team were clearly fabricated to indefinitely detain them, Makabayan said.
Aside from the two solons those arrested were 29 students and 12 teachers of Lumad schools in Davao del Norte.
Prior to their detention, unidentified perpetrators threw nail spikes on the road to deflate the wheels of 2 out of 5 vans, to halt and interrupt the NSM.
While the tires were being replaced the van carrying Castro and Ocampo was hit by rocks. The perpetrators even fired their guns indiscriminately.