Rural Missionaries condemn arrest of Salugpongan teacher Ammy Pond

(Salugpongan Learning Center Ronie Garcia, left, with members of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines visited Teacher ‘Ammy’ Amelia Pond (in blue shirt) at the Camp Sotero Cabahug in Cebu City)
Statement
August 19, 2016

Rural Missionaries condemn the arrest of its Southern Mindanao region Coordinator

The women and men, priests, clergy and lay workers of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) denounced the illegal arrest and detention of Amelia Pond, 64 years old, Regional Coordinator of RMP Southern Mindanao Region and a teacher and research-documentation officer of Salugpongan Schools in the region. The incident happened today August 19 at 12noon while on her way out from the Living the Gospel Renewal Center after attending the 3-day RMP National Assembly in Archbishop Reyes Avenue, Lahug, Cebu City.

“We condemn this attack on Ms. Amelia as this is harassment to us supporters of the farmers and indigenous people in the countryside under the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan,” stated by Sr. Francis Anover, RSM of RMP.

RMP SMR just like any other regions in Mindanao was known for supporting and helping the Lumad people to build schools. But these Lumad were also primarily target of military and para-military attacks that resulted to increasing numbers of human rights violation and bakwet (evacuees).

Continue reading Rural Missionaries condemn arrest of Salugpongan teacher Ammy Pond

Salugpongan teacher illegally arrested, charged by CIDG

Amelia Pond, a Salugpongan Learning Center teacher and coordinator of Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Southern Mindanao was illegally arrested during the RMP National Assembly on August 19 by members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Cebu City on trumped-up charges of murder and frustrated murder.

Last October 16, 2014, Dominiciano Muya, an agriculturist/teacher of Salugpongan Center was illegally arrested by combined forces of CIDG and AFP in Davao del Norte. He was charged with trumped-up cases of murder and frustrated murder, robbery and damage to properties and is currently detained in Bukidnon.

We condemn the illegal arrests and attacks on community teachers. They are teachers, not killers!

How to help the Manobo evacuees

Calls for support to the Manobo communities driven out from their communities by the paramilitary murders of their leaders have increased in recent days.

The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, which has community schools in lumad areas in Mindanao, call out to the Catholic groups to support the alternative learning schools and call for the end of militarization in Mindanao.

“We encourage different sectors especially the church people to join and support in condemning the continuous attack to Lumad communities and their alternative learning schools. We challenge the Aquino government to immediately act and stop the political killings, harassment and militarization not only in Surigao del Sur but the whole Mindanao region.” said RMP National Coordinator Sr. Francis Añover, RSM, who is also a Mindanaoan.

Añover also appealed to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to condole with the Manobo evacuees. “We also urge the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to condole with the victims by condemning the offense and the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan.”

Meanwhile, Manila Bulletin columnist and blogger Tonyo Cruz wrote about things the public can do to help the indigenous peoples in Mindanao, as suggested by Karapatan:

1. Ask President BS Aquino, the military’s commander-in-chief, to immediately order the withdrawal of military forces from all Manobo Lumad communities, houses, and schools so that the displaced communities could return home.

2. Call for an end to displacements, abductions, killings, and massacres of Manobo Lumads, and for an independent investigation into the tragic incidents.

3. Call for the prosecution of the perpetrators.

4. Call for abolition of Magahat Bagani, Alamara, and other “vigilante” groups.

5. Ask for the resignation of Rep. Catamco as chair of the House Committee on Indigenous Peoples, and for her investigation over the June 23 attack on UCCP Haran.

6. Seek an end to the “Oplan Bayanihan” counter-insurgency program for targeting civilians and civilian communities.