Farmers denounce Army’s ‘red tagging’ activities

Florena Talibutab (4th from left) with leaders of other farmers’ group denounce and deny accusations of the military that they are rebel supporters during a press conference at the Negros Press Club on Sept 10, 2019. (Dolly Yasa)

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Leaders of several farmers’ groups in southern Negros denounced what they claimed is the alleged “red tagging” of their group by the Civil Military Battalion (CMO) of the Philippine Army after they declined the latter’s offer of assistance.

Florena Talibutab, chairperson of the AMMLO (Assosasyon sang mga Mangunguma kag Mamumugon sa Lopon naga Ugyon) denied the accusation of the military that they are supporters of the communist New People’s Army (NPA).

“Haloson na kami makakaon tatlo ka beses sa isa ka adlaw, masuporta pa kami sa ila. (We can hardly eat three times a day, how can we support them,” Talibutab said.

Talibutab and leaders of five farmers’ group led a press conference on Sept 10, 2019 at the Negros Press Club.

Argene Seron of KABUHIAN Association denied the accusation of the military saying that what they earn from their farm is spent on food for their family and their children’s education.

Ngaa ma suporta kami sa ila (NPA)? Naga pangabuhi lang kmi sang normal,”Seron said.

Talibutab and Seron lamented that they have been lambasted and accused as NPA supporters by the military over a community based radio station for several weeks now.

Both said that they have about 1,000 farmer-members in different barangays in Kabankalan City.

The red tagging has sowed fear and apprehension among their ranks, Seron said.

Talibutab said that they were asked by the military to attend a seminar in Bacolod City for them to avail of assistance from the government.

But she said they declined because they have processed their documents and are working it out by themselves in asking concerned government agencies for support.

Seron also asked 303rd Brigade commander Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, the top Army official in Negros, to investigate what his men are doing.