KARAPATAN on Monday criticized the campaign against illegal drugs, saying it is no different from “Oplan Bayanihan” launched by the police that targeted farmers.
“The Philippine National Police continues to implement Oplan Bayanihan, targetting activist farmers resisting landgrabbing, now in the guise of the so-called war against drugs,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said in a statement.
Palabay said farmers in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan were recently arrested and detained for charges in relation to RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
She said on October 6, 2016, policemen arrested eight farmers, including the chairman of the local farmers’ organization and ransacked three houses in Purok 6, Sitio Karahumi, Barangay San Isidro, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.
“The farmers were arrested without warrants and charged based on planted methamphetamine (shabu) and paraphernalia,” Palabay said.
She added that the farmers — Rowel Reola, Alfredo Ravelo, and Lito Natural, all members of Karahumi Farmers Association (KFA), and Randy Sta. Maria remain in detention. KFA is an active affiliate of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan (AMB) and a member organization of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.
On October 19, another KFA member, Romy “Nonoy” Gaitero was arrested without warrant by the police and was accused of drug peddling, a non-bailable offense.
She said the KFA has been resisting the alleged attempt of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to acquire more than 1,000 hectares of agricultural land in Bulacan.