Balbalan town in Kalinga (Google maps)

Balbalan city in Kalinga (Google maps)

BALBALAN, Kalinga — Delegates to the 33rd Cordillera Day celebration right here have been held for an hour on Sunday (April 23), alongside the street at Barangay (village) Balantoy by the police and Army troopers who have been advised to be careful for insurgents at a checkpoint.

The police flagged down a convoy of 12 jeepneys and a minibus and knowledgeable the delegates they have been conducting inspections there to make sure peace and safety.

But the police and Army officers detained the minibus and jeep ferrying the Ifugao delegation, and searched the non-public belongings of Brandon Lee, a member of the Ifugao Peasant Movement.

Lee mentioned the troopers first regarded for Kennedy Bangibang, the advisor for Cordillera and national minority affairs of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the political wing and the negotiator of the Communist Party of the Philippines in peace talks with the Philippine authorities.

Lee mentioned an Army officer then requested for his identification paperwork, and was requested to step off the bus.

Lee refused to depart the bus and requested for a search warrant when the officers demanded to go looking his belongings.

A police officer confirmed Lee a textual content message ordering the the police and army to carry the minibus and search for him, “Fernando Alikes,” and a “Ka Sarah.”

“All the description of me in the text message, from my hair to my beard and six pocket pants were correct except for the color of my shoes,” Lee mentioned.

Lee mentioned the Ifugao delegation was allowed to proceed after Lee lastly allowed them to go looking his bag. “We were already held for nearly an hour and it was already late in the evening, so I showed them the contents of my bag against my will just so we could get through,” he mentioned.

In 2015, Lee was among the many IPM organizers who reported receiving death threats.

The Cordillera Day program opened on Monday (April 24).

Windel Bolinget, chair of the Cordillera People’ Alliance, which has been organizing the annual Cordillera Day celebrations, mentioned group complaints concerning the persevering with militarization of Balbalan city was among the many the reason why Cordillera Day 2017 was held right here.  SFM/rga

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