CPP Information Bureau
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) expressed support for the demand of human rights groups, youth groups, teachers and scientists calling for the release of UP professor Kim Gargar, who is presently being detained in the Davao Oriental Provincial Jail in Mati town.
Professor Gargar was taken into custody on 1 October by soldiers of the 67th Infantry Battalion in Cateel, Davao Oriental, near an area where they encountered a unit of the New People’s Army (NPA) several hours earlier. The military claims Gargar was arrested with an M-16 rifle, “landmines”, and so-called subversive documents.
The UP professor denied all charges against him by the AFP. In interviews, he asserted that he has been in Compostela Valley since late June to carry out a six-month resource mapping to develop a reforestation program with the aim of rehabilitating the areas devastated by typhoon Pablo in December 2012. Gargar said his research effort is in coordination with the Panalipdan environmental group and the Balsa Mindanao disaster relief network.
Professor Gargar is the Networking Officer of the Center for Environmental Concerns–Philippines and a PhD candidate in Chronobiology in the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in The Netherlands. He finished his masteral education in Physics at the University of the Philippines, and BS in Physics, magna cum laude, at the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology in 2000.
“The CPP supports the call for the release of Professor Gargar and the return of all his scientific notes, digital files, research and personal materials. His continued detention prevents him from conducting his research work for the people of Compostela Valley and will only serve the big mining companies that do not want to be bothered by demands for reforestration and rehabilitation,” said the CPP.
“Professor Gargar’s detention underscores the grave injustice in Philippine society where the big plunderers of the environment and the people’s money enjoy their high-style living while those who choose to serve the people and defend their land and resources are made to rot in jail.”
“The arrest and detention of Professor Gargar reminds us of the growing number of cases of wrongful arrests and killings by the reactionary armed forces victimizing civilians which the AFP have accused as being members of the NPA,” said the CPP.
Recently, the AFP was compelled to release Rolly Panesa, a security guard employed by the Megaforce Security. Panesa was arrested by the AFP in October 5, 2012 and accused as being “Benjamin Mendoza” whom the AFP claimed to be a leader of the CPP in the Southern Tagalog region. He was severely tortured and detained for nine months and was released only last September.
In November 15, 2010, troops of the 19th IB shot at the team of distinguished botanist Leonardo Co killing Co and his two companions Ronino Gibe and Policarpio Batute. In February 16, 2012, elements of the 1st Special Forces Battalion, 1st Infantry Battalion and the 59th Infantry Battalion fired at forest hunters in Magdalena, Laguna killing two residents and wounding three. In October 18, 2012, soldiers of the 27th IB killed pregnant mother Jovy Capion and her two sons age 13 and 8.
“In these and numerous other cases of killing or arresting ordinary civilians, the AFP invariably claim that they encountered members of the New People’s Army,” said the CPP. “They make grand declarations that those arrested or killed are leaders of the CPP or NPA as if these justify their fascist crimes.”
“The all-out support extended by Aquino to the AFP’s Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression has emboldened the fascist soldiers to wage all-out war in the countryside with complete disregard for human rights and international humanitarian law.”