GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Tension gripped Digos City Thursday, December 11, after protesters barricading the national highway seized a .45 cal pistol from an alleged government intelligent agent who they accused of trying to sneak into their ranks.
Ryan Lariba, spokesperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) in Socsksargen, said the agent, who they failed to identify, tried to join their rank while they were occupying a portion of the national highway after police forces blocked their way.
The .45 caliber loaded with magazine bearing Serial Number GI 05111821 was later brought to the police station and turned over to Senior Inspector Ricky Remoroza, deputy for administration for the Philippine National Police office in Digos City.
Karapatan Socsksargen immediately condemned the harassment and surveillance against the protesters.
“The Aquino government is extremely desperate. It is intensifying not only militarization against peasant and lumad communities but also surveillance and harassment of activists and protesters” Sadrach Sabella, Secretary General of Karapatan Socsksargen.
The barricade at the Digos highway was part of the three-day lakbayan (People’s March) which started December 8 from Surallah, South Cotabato to observed the 64th anniversary of International Human Rights Day
“Despite attempts of the state forces to block the lakbayan, we reached Digos City and successfully staged the barricade. The people are determined to mainstream their demands. We have every reason to launch this kind of protest,” said Ryan Lariba, spokesperson of Bayan Socsksargen.
The protesters, numbering to more than 300 when they left Koronadal were also blocked by police forces while on their way to Tampakan in South Cotabato. They were however later allowed to proceed and hold a rally at the town center.
Their ranks swell to more than 1,000 when they reached Digos City.
The militants also demanded the ouster of mining firm Glencore-SMI in Tampakan, South Cotabato.