DND-DILG hit list legitimizes rights violation vs 60-year old peasant organizer

Karapatan deplored the enforced disappearance, illegal arrest and detention of Estelita T. Tacalan, a 60-year old peasant organizer and rural health worker in Misamis Oriental, as a “recent case of rights violation legitimized by the Joint Order No. 14-2012 of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of National Defense.” 

The DND-DILG Joint Order No. 14-2012 reportedly contains an updated list of alleged wanted Communist leaders and allocates PhP 466,088,000.00 as reward money for their capture.
Secretary general of Karapatan, Cristina Palabay, said Tacalan was reported missing by its Northern Mindanao chapter since April 27. On May 7 Karapatan and Tacalan’s family received information from an ABS-CBN reporter that confirmed the arrest of Tacalan through Supt. Cholijun Caduyac, Assistant Regional Chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 10. Caduyac reportedly said Tacalan was arrested and detained based on a warrant of arrest for murder and arson charges. The CIDG claimed that Tacalan is among the list of wanted persons of the DND. 

Tacalan was an organizer of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the Anakpawis partylist among farmers, indigenous peoples, women and children in rural communities. She engaged landowners and local governments in dialogues over the concerns of peasants. 

Fondly called by many as “Nanay Neneng,” she was also a rural nurse. Using her basic knowledge and broad field experiences on health care, she treated patients who never saw doctors and nurses. She joined relief and medical missions among the typhoon Pablo survivors. 
Tacalan was reported missing since the morning of April 27, after she left the Makabayan office in Camaman-an, Cagayan de Oro City. She was on her way to Balingasag, Misamis Oriental but, later in the day,  her colleagues were unable to contact her through her mobile phones. In the 13 days of Tacalan’s disappearance, her family, colleagues and human rights workers repeatedly sought CIDG’s assistance to locate her it but denied knowledge of Tacalan’s whereabouts. 

In an interview, Caduyac said Tacalan was transferred to the Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Jail on April 28. The CIDG also released copies of Tacalan’s mugshot. According to latest reports, Tacalan is currently detained at the Dipolog City Jail.

“The DILG-DND Joint Order 14-2012 is a hitlist of activists and individuals that makes illegal arrests and detention legal. Based on trumped up charges, those in the hitlist, especially members and leaders of progressive partylists and organizations, may not only end up in jails but may become victims of enforced disappearance or extrajudicial killing. The list is definitely in support of the Aquino administration’s Oplan Bayanihan,” Palabay explained. 

Karapatan called for the immediate release of Tacalan and held the DND, DILG, PNP and CIDG accountable for her enforced disappearance, illegal arrest and detention. ###