As coconut farmers prepare to intensify campaigns to recover coco levy fund
(As of 5PM, Manila) Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) strongly condemns the illegal arrest of its vice-chairperson Antonio ‘Ka Tony’ Pajalla, 54 years old, a peasant leader from Quezon province.
“We condemn the arrest of peasant leader Tony Pajalla. We demand the Quezon-PNP to surface him as soon as possible,” said KMP Secretary General Antonio Flores.
Based on initial reports, Pajalla was arrested by armed elements of the Philippine National Police in Macalelon, Quezon on charges of rebellion.
His last known whereabouts was at the Macalelon Municipal Hall where he submitted solicitation letters for the upcoming regional assembly of the claimants movement Coco Levy Fund Ibalik sa Amin (CLAIM) next week.
According to Flores, at around 3PM today, Pajalla was able contact his colleagues and inform them of his arrest and ordeal. The last information received from Pajalla is that he will be brought by his arresting officers to Gumaca town. His whereabouts, as of now, remain unknown and he cannot be contacted by his family and colleagues.
“Pajalla, a long-time leader of the Pinagkaisang Lakas ng Magbubukid sa Quezon (PIGLAS) has led the coconut farmers of Quezon in their fight to recover the multibillion coco levy fund. In fact, coconut farmers of Quezon province are preparing to march to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and Malacanang in Manila to demand the immediate return of the coco levy fund to farmers,” Flores said.
Tanggol Magsasaka is coordinating with human rights group KARAPATAN-Quezon for a Quick Reaction Team (QRT) activity to find Pajalla.
Pajalla was appointed as KMP Vice Chairperson last month during its National Council Meeting. He is based in Quezon province. ###
Antonio Flores, KMP SecGen, 0921-2726682