STOP THE ATTACKS ON DEVELOPMENT WORKERS! SURFACE ELENA TIJAMO NOW!
The Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes, Inc. (PNFSP) vehemently condemns the abduction of Elena "Lina" Tijamo by four unidentified armed men from her house in barangay Kampingganon, Bantayan in the evening of June 13, 2020. Tijamo is the program coordinator for sustainable agriculture of Farmers Development Center, Inc. (FARDEC)., a non-stock non-profit organization established in 1989 by a group of religious and lay persons to serve as a regional support mechanism for the farmers in Central Visayas (particularly the provinces of Bohol, Cebu, and Negros Oriental). Its main area of intervention is the empowerment of farmers towards the realization of genuine land reform and sustainable rural development. FARDEC is among the 30 member organizations of PNFSP, addressing the diverse causes of food insecurity in the Philippines with a view to improving agricultural production methods. Development workers were already under attack, red-tagged, vilified, demonized and faced with trumped up charges. At the height of the implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s counterinsurgency measures Memorandum Order No. 32, Executive Order No. 70 and the AFP-Philippine National Police regional counterinsurgency program Oplan Sauron under then-Central Visayas police chief Debold Sinas and Central Visayas military command chief Noel Clement, Tijamo was red-tagged in 2019 by state elements as being an “alleged New People’s Army. It can be remembered that FARDEC, along with 3 more PNFSP member organizations were among the list of 18 organizations presented by AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence Major General Reuben Basiao in a congressional briefing last November 5, 2019 that are alleged communist fronts. With the looming passage of the anti-terror bill, more incidents of harassments, abductions and blatant disregard for people’s rights especially in the middle of a deadly pandemic might take place. Despite these continuing attacks on development workers and shrinking democratic space for development work in the Philippines, PNFSP stands firm in its commitment to pursue its advocacy for land and food rights of the people.##