Immediate Release of Amelia Pond and Dismissal of All Trumped Up Charges
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Statement of Concern Over the Arrest of Amelia Pond
We condemn the unjust arrest and detention of Amelia “Amy” Pond, 64 years old, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) Southern Mindanao Regional Coordinator. Amelia was also a teacher and research-documentation officer of the Salupongan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Centers. She has devoted her life to serving marginalized Lumad and peasant communities in Mindanao, Philippines.
The incident happened on August 19, 2016 while on a lunch break from attending a 3-day Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) National Assembly at the Living Gospel Renewal Center in Lahug, Cebu City, Philippines.
Ms. Amelia was riding a taxi with three others, when four elements of the CIDG -Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, three men and a woman blocked the taxi and she was forcibly made to get out of it. The female CIDG officer held her by the arm and identified her with different names but she denied. This was followed by more questions showed photographs, and a supposed warrant of arrest which they did not make her read the warrant. One of Amy’s companion insisted that she should be able to read the warrant for her to know what her case is but despite Amy and her companion’s insistence they failed to let her read the warrant. Amy vehemently resisted this illegal arrest.
Witnesses reported that one of the CIDG men went near Amy and planted two fake ID’s in her bag. Then they asked her to get in the car. She refused to go with them but they forced her. In this instance, Sr. Francis Anover and Sr. Marisol Garduno who were also in the center immediately went to her rescue. They were brought to Camp Sotero in Cebu City.
Fabricated charges of double murder and frustrated murder in Compostela Valley, Mindanao under the name of Adelfa Toledo are imputed on her.
We in the local, national and international community condemn the illegal arrest of Ms. Amelia as this is yet another blatant attack and harassment on supporters and advocates of the farmers and indigenous people in the marginalized hinterland communities who are defending their ancestral lands and right to self-determination.
The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines have been popularly known for supporting and helping Lumad communities to build schools. However, these same Lumad communities which have been staunch defenders in their right to self-determination and protection of their ancestral lands and schools, have in turn been targets of military and paramilitary attacks that have resulted to increasing numbers of human rights violations and internally displaced persons.
It is tragic and twisted logic that those who are dedicating their lives to serving the marginalized Lumad and peasant communities by helping provide basic social services such as education and other community based programs are in turn being illegally arrested, slapped with trumped up charges, harassed, intimated and even killed.
We call on President Duterte to grant the people’s demand for the immediate release of Ms. Amelia Pond and the dismissal of all trumped up charges against her.
Rural Missionaries of the Philippines
Save Our Schools Network
Save Our Schools UP Diliman
Alliance of Concerned Teachers
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