The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs condemned on Saturday the arrest of indigenous woman rights defender, Beatrice “Betty” Belen in her home in Uma, Lubuagan, Philippines.
The detention happened in a Cordillera town on Sunday, October 25, for illegal possession of firearms and explosives – a charge advocates said were “fabricated” after she was red-tagged by the military.
According to a report from the Kalinga Provincial police Belen was arrested for possession of three rifle grenades.
A composite team of intelligence, Special Action Force, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), regional mobile force battalion, provincial, municipal, and special action company policemen served a total of 13 search warrants, which led to Belen’s arrest. The Rappler reported.
Betty is a member of the Advisory Council of Innabuyog-Gabriela and is long known for her courage in fighting for indigenous peoples’ rights and human rights. Said the
Innabuyog-Gabriela, the regional women’s alliance in a statement.
Betty was one of the recipients of the 2018 Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan in recognition of her brave leadership in the Kalinga women’s barricade against the Chevron Energy Company’s geothermal power project in Kalinga, the indigenous organization reported.
In 2012, she led a barricade against the Chevron Energy company’s geothermal power project. Harassment and vilification against Betty continued after her strong opposition of the geothermal project, underlines in an urgent alert, The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA).