URBAN poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) in Northern Mindanao decries the alleged spying of the army’s intelligence unit against progressive leaders.
In a statement, Kadamay-Northern Mindanao chairperson said, some parents reported to them that their children were offered jobs by some alleged army personnel only to find out that the job is to spy against the move of various militant groups, in exchange for money and a mobile phone.
“Nabalaka kami nga kining mga laraw sa pagpang-espiya mopadulong ngadto sa paghimog tumo-tumo nga kaso kanamo kay mao may gakahitabo ilalum sa Martial Law sa Mindanao o dili kaha mabiktima kami sa extra-judicial-killings (ejk) sama sa pagpatay sa mga aktibista ug sa liboang suspetsadong nalambigit sa droga ug krimen ilalom sa “war on drugs” sa gobyernong Duterte,” Pagayaman said.
(We are worried for our safety, that these activities on spying will result to trumped up charges against us or we may be targets of this administration’s war on drugs.)
The group related that in November 3, 2 members of Anakbayan in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental were also offered jobs. They were later brought to a resort in barangay Tablon, this city, and were questioned and told to spy against their leaders.
They were also shown pictures of the target leaders, which include Pagayaman himself, Ringo Lago of transport group Starex-Piston, organizers of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, Anakbayan, among others.
“Nganong kami mang nagdala sa tingog ug interes sa mga kabus ang ilang espiyahan? Sayop ba diay ang mosupak sa Train law, ang manawagang ibasura ang ENDO o manawagan nga ihunong ang demolition ug ang pagduso sa katungod sa yuta, pabalay ug panginabuhian?”, Pagayaman said.
(Why are we being spied when we only echo the voice of the poor? Is it wrong to resists against train law, to call to stop ENDO, demolitions that threaten the lives and livelihood of the poor?)
Pagayaman said law enforcement agencies should instead focus on spying their own ranks.
“Hagit namo sa AFP ug PNP nga unahon nila pagpang-espiya ang ilang kaugalingong membro ug opisyales aron madakpan ug mataral sa hukmanan ang tanang financier sa sindikato sa droga, mga politikong kawatan, ang mga langyawng kumpaniyang nagpractice sa ENDO, ang mga nagpalayas sa mga lumad ug mag-uuma ug dili ang mga aktibistang nakighiusa sa yangongo sa mga kabus nga gilupigan. Sila mismo ang nagdaot sa ilang imahen sa mga TV program ug dili ang direktor ug artista nga naghulagway sa kung kinsa sila,” he added.
(We challenge the AFP and PNP to spy their own members and officials so they can arrest the true financier and syndicates of the drug trade, thief government officials, the foreign companies practicing contractualization, those who force lumads to vacate from their communities, and many others. They themselves are the ones who are destroying their image and not a TV Program and the director and artists who are only portraying their real image)
Reached for a comment, 4th Infantry Division (4ID) spokesperson First Lieutenant Tere Ingente denied the accusations.
"Anyone can claim that he or she is a member of an AFP intelligence unit even if he is not. Our troops aren’t dumb enough to introduce themselves as member of the such intelligence unit and give information on future plans," Ingente said.
She, however, did not deny that the 4ID is monitoring organizations supporting the New People's Army (NPA) rebels.
With this, Ingente said Pagayaman have nothing to worry about if they have no ties to this organization.
"To Pagayaman, there is nothing wrong in shouting to the streets and criticizing the government because this is a democratic country. But we have a problem, if people you are bringing during rally already carries firearms without license, just like the NPA terrorists in the mountains, bringing unlicensed high powered firearms," she added.