Court temporarily releases Tumandok IP, oldest political prisoner of Panay

March 17, 2023

Iloilo City – 75-yr-old Rodolfo Diaz aka ‘Tay Dolping’, an Indigenous Peoples (IPs) Tumandok and the oldest political prisoner of Panay, bails from the Iloilo District Jail on October 28 after Court deems that evidence against him is not strong.

Tay Dolping is a member of the Tumandok IPs communities of Calinog, Iloilo and Tapaz, Capiz that were brutally attacked by the PNP-AFP-CIDG on December 30, 2020, where nine (9) Tumandok leaders were tortured and killed, and 16 were illegally arrested, including Tay Dolping, based on planted firearms and explosives, and false testimonies.

Before the Tumanduk Massacre happened, Tumandok IPs communities were long under militarization, and were red-tagged and accused by the military as members and supporters of the CPP-NPA because of their firm and vocal opposition to the building of the Jalaur Mega Dam at their own ancestral lands.

The Jalaur Mega Dam is funded by the Korean Import-Export Bank that allegedly aims to provide irrigation to a number of agricultural lands in Iloilo. However, around 17,000 Tumandok IPs will be displaced from their ancestral domain and 600 communities are at risk of being submerged.

According to Defend Panay Network (DPN), the Tumandok IPs continue to struggle for justice and their rights. The police and military must be investigated and prosecuted for their arbitrary arrests and murder of the Tumandok victims, DPN added.

DPN calls on the Court to dismiss all trumped-up charges against Tay Dolping and to free all political prisoners. DPN further demands the government to stop the persecution of Tumandok IPs and all environmental and land rights defenders.

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