Former Bayan Muna party-list Representative Satur Ocampo and ACT-Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro claimed that the authorities detained them.
The two known activists were accused of illegally transporting minors. According to some news reports, the delegation of Ocampo consisted of 79 people, including 29 students, and 12 teachers.
According to Ocampo, while they’re traveling along Sitio Igang, Barangay Palma Gil at around 8 p.m. on Wednesday, they were blocked by the members of the 56th Infantry Battalion and allegedly flattened their tires to stop them forcefully.
After that, they were interrogated by the authorities about their mission, saying that they only went to Davao Del Norte to help the Lumads.
“Ayaw pa rin kaming paalisin dito sa PNP-Talaingod police station. Practically dini-detain na kami dito. Hinahanapan pa kami ng kaso,” she said.
“Sinabihan kami na as of now ay wala kaming kaso kaya sabi ko, you should release us. Illegal itong ginagawa ng mga pulis,” Castro added.
They also accused the military of closing the schools they’re built for Lumad and blocking the entry of help.
“About 15 to 20 members of the Alamara were seen loitering around the school’s vicinity, persecuting the students, teacher, and locals, prompting the volunteer teachers to seek a safe sanctuary,” Executive director of Salugpongan community schools Meggie Nolasco said.
Meanwhile, According to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes said that the group of Ocampo only wanted to rescue the children from the hands of the military.
“Ang context, they had to rescue the students and teachers that night because a paramilitary group forcibly closed their school,” Reyes said.
Leftist leaders were accused of being members of New People’s Army (NPA) and recruiting Lumads as their members.
The incident happened amid the announcement of President Rodrigo Duterte that he would form a group to counter the elite forces of the NPA.