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Urgent update about the backpackers tortured and held in the Philippines

anarchy asia | 27.02.2006 07:14 | Repression | Social Struggles | World

Subject: Urgent Appeal from Autonomous Groups in Phils.

Dear Friends, Comrades, Affinity Groups, Autonomists, Kolektivs,
Scenesters, etc...

This is an info dissemination campaign regarding the 11 arrested
friends of collectives in the Philippines.

Subject: Urgent Appeal from Autonomous Groups in Phils.

Dear Friends, Comrades, Affinity Groups, Autonomists, Kolektivs,
Scenesters, etc...

This is an info dissemination campaign regarding the 11 arrested
friends of collectives in the Philippines.


Me and 2 others are currently here in Southern Philippines when we received the news about our friends arrested and tortured by the PNP in Benguet Province. Since the local media news/reports and even the ones posted on Manila Indymedia site gave them the image of "tourists/backpackers" most of us decided on the meeting that we better stay on such projection as it would be an advantage for our friends in jail.

On the other hand, our capabilities becomes limited to launch all
immediate sorts of campaign regarding on this issue since the Phil.
President yesterday declared the National State of Emergency as a failed coup plot allegedly perpetrated by the joint forces of NPA guerillas, mutiny soldiers and young officers union took place yesterday morning. Since then, almost everyone on the streets can get arrested without warrants of arrest, all rallies are banned even tho its supposed to commemorate the Edsa Uprising of People Power in 1986, then yesterday afternoon, the Nat'l. Telecommunications Commission called all the media
to give strict guidelines on news and reports, any interviews from the communists progressives and other groups or individuals dissenting against the state will be arrested. As of 12:30 am, Manila Tribune has been raided by the Crime Investigation Division Group, also

see( .
Since yesterday all sms text messages we try to sent to our correspondents in northern luzon failed to reach them. Massive arrests also took place since yesterday against
leftist icons whether on streets/offices/homes.....

Now you have to understand that the local context currently between the Police/military and against the armed communist guerrillas has been on high tension since the National Democratic Front has claimed that the Mutineer Soldiers joint forced with them to Oust GMA . Tho the New People's Army already sent a statement denouncing the involvements of the 11 youngsters arrested by the police in Benguet Province, the Police
officers involved with the arrests and torture still insisted that the
arrested teens were members of NPA undergoing a test training. The difficulties we face were that , first, if the cops manage to get even a small evidence that the teens were involved with activist groups even if not related to NPA as the police bastards claims to be, they'll have lesser chances of getting out on jail, also, the charges filed against them were homicide with robbery. Next, we're struggling to have legal defense support group to render us their services, we admit that this is what we lack here..if anyone gets arrested we don't know whom to turn to.

The condition of the 11 arrested backpackers is hardly known except on
the interview conducted by Cordillera Human Rights Group ( the group is
affiliated with the Maoist NDF-CPP-NPA) , the worst of these is that we
have 2 minors with them, one was a 15 year old girl and the other is a
16 yr. old boy. All of them were forced to admit that they're related
with NPA. They were severely tortured and all of their belongings were
taken immediately when the police inspection/checkpoint patrol ordered
them to get off the truck they're hitchin at... All our thoughts
immediate concern is to provide them communication with parents (around
5 of them we're from far away provinces....) , get them legal
assistance, provide food and medicine/doctor check up... and we really
need to fund raise to finance these expenses, there's too many human
rights violations committed against these nature-freedom-loving kids
and we're not that familiar on how to pursue cases against the policemen
involved in

For this reason, we are seeking assistance to help us with the
campaign to Free the Sagada 11. Below is a copy of the Petition and we need signatories as well.
Let us know if there is anyway you can help/assist us on this campaign.

Thank You .

Yours in spirit and resistance,


p.s. ; here's a list of linx you can read about the 11 arrested

An online petition to all who respect human rights and dignity

Free the Sagada 11!

Last February 14, a group of 11 backpackers went to Baguio to join the festivities in the annual Baguio Flower Festival and proceed to the idyllic mountain paradise of Sagada. They were Rundren Berloize Lao, 24, from Davao City; Aldoz Christian Munoza, 18, single, of Santolan, Pasig City; Darwin Alazar y Padilla, 21, single, native of Tipuso, Urdaneta City, Pangasinan; Arvie Nunez, 21, single, native of Silang, Mayaw, Lucena City; Ray Lester Mendoza y Esquerra, 16, from San Francisco, Makati City; Neil Russel Balajadia, 25, single, from Santolan, Pasig City; Jethro Villegas, 21, single, of Malagos, Calinan, Davao City; Anderson Alonzo, 18, single, also of Malagos, Calinan, Davao City; Ronron Pandino, 20, single, from San Quintin, Laguna; Frencess Ann Bernal, 15, single, of Camupang, Marikina City; and Jefferson dela Rosa y dela Cruz, 20, single, of Santolan, Pasig City. All of them just wanted to have some fun, after their musical tour (they came from a punk music event that was held in Tarlac).

At around 6 a.m of the same day, the group hitchhiked aboard a dump truck along the Baguio-Bontoc Road (Halsema Highway). This was their mode of transportation to Sagada. Around noontime, without any provocation, they were held in gunpoint by police looking for New People’s Army (NPA) rebels at a checkpoint in Bangao village, Buguias town, northern Benguet.

They were kicked and manhandled as there were obvious signs of torture all over their bodies.
The parents of the victims were aghast when they saw the group of youth - bruised, wounded and still in a state of shock. The group were tied, some handcuffed, and were brought forcefully to the station of the 1604th Police Mobile Group in Camp Molintas, Abatan, also in Benguet.

The actions done by the Benguet Police were definitely wrong, however you look at it. These acts deserve condemnation, if not punishment by recalling all those involved from their duties. The Sagada 11 are innocent, adventure loving trekkers. Most likely, due to the macho, prejudiced and unintelligent nature of police officers and the backwardness of the police institution itself, they have assumed that these individuals are “communists” and “armed rebels” due to the fact that they look and dress different (punks tend to dress differently - Rundren Lao even had dreadlocks which he cut in his attempt to escape to maintain a low profile). The closest they can be related to “rebellion” is due to their involvement with the non-violent peace organization Food not Bombs, a vegetarian anti-war group where the main activity is to recycle food to feed the poor and hungry homeless vagrants all throughout the country.

As the Sagada 11 group’s friends, comrades, fellow musicians, and peace-loving people who respect human rights, we demand for:

The immediate and unconditional release of the Sagada 11
A public apology to be issued to the victims and their families
The termination of the responsible people from their duties as police officers and government workers, whether they are directly or indirectly involved.


Help us free the Sagada 11. Let the world know and denounce the
wickedness done by those of the Benguet Police Force and the
Philippine State’s repressive nature. If you agree with our statement
and our demands, you can do these:

Send this letter to all your friends or any person in your contact
list. You can help in the dissemination of information. You can also
include your name or your group’s name under the signatories below before you forward them.

Write a letter, or if you'’re within the locale or if you have ample
funds to make a long distance phone call, get in touch with the
following people, demanding the Sagada 11’s unconditional release and the condemnation of the actions that were done to them.

Police Chief Superintendent RAUL SANCHEZ GONZALES
Regional Director (Acting)
Police Regional Office for Cordillera Administrative
Region (PRO CAR)
PRO CAR Camp Bado Dangwa, La Trinidad,
Benguet (098) 541-0850/[SAT] 0985-410-850

Chief State Prosecutor
Direct Line 525-0952
Trunkline 523-8481 loc. 219; 281
Telefax 525-0952

Tel. No. 536-0450
Senior State Prosecutor

Tel. No. (072) 700-3599

DOJ Agencies Bldg., NIA Road cor. East Avenue,
Diliman, Quezon City
Tel. No. 929-9010; 924-1396
Chief Public Attorney

Internal Affairs Service
For Police Services Complaints or Complaints on a
Police Officer
Dial (632) 899-7504

If you are based in another country, write your local Philippine
Embassy regarding this issue or conduct actions in front of the embassy to pressure officials.

If you or your group are within the vicinity of Baguio City, or are
willing to travel there, join the camp out initiated by some members of the support group.

Furthermore, we give our thanks to those who supported the Sagada 11 in the legal aspect: the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), KARAPATAN, the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), and Task Force Detainees of the
Philippines (TFDP).

Free the Sagada 11 Solidarity Campaign


- Earth First!
- Local anarchist Network
- Food not Bombs
- Project Aperture
- Not For Sale

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