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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Protests greet new Davao police chief

Militants protest the appointment of Senior Superintendent Alexander Tagum as the new Davao City police chief in this photo released by Kilab Multimedia to the Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper.
 A photo released by the Office of the City Mayor shows Sarah Duterte-Carpio during a meeting with Senior Superintendent Alexander Tagum, the new Davao City police chief.

DAVAO CITY – Militant groups and human rights advocates have protested the appointment of a senior police official – as Davao City police chief – who was behind the bloody dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan City last year.
Senior Superintendent Alexander Tagum, the former North Cotabato police director, replaced Senior Superintendent Valeriano de Leon after being chosen by Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio as the new police chief.
Carpio, in a meeting with Tagum, told him to do his job of ensuring peace and order and to strictly implement the laws.
“I just told him to do his job and not to listen to anyone. I told him that he just needed to do his duties and responsibilities as our city director and to cascade it to his men. I vetted him properly and thoroughly,” she said.
For his part, Tagum thanked the Carpio – the daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte – for choosing him to replace De Leon, despite street protests by militants in Davao City. “I am deeply honored by her confidence in me and I am now encouraged to do my best as director of DCPO,” Tagum said.
But Carpio’s decision in choosing Tagum did not sit well with human rights groups Karapatan and Bayan whose leaders strongly condemned his appointment as police chief in Davao City. “Tagum must be held liable for the deaths of 2 individuals including a bystander and wounding several peasants during a violent dispersal in Kidapawan City last April 1, 2016,” said Jay Apiag, a spokesman for Karapatan in Southern Mindanao.
He also accused Tagum as behind the illegal arrest of nearly 100 hungry farmers, including 16 of their leaders, during the dispersal of protesters who were demanding rice subsidies from the government in Kidapawan which was hit by the dry spell. “Tagum's appointment as acting director for Davao City Police Office illustrates the reign of culture of impunity in this government,” Apiag said.
Sheena Duazo, Secretary-General of Bayan in Mindanao, said Tagum should answer for his alleged human rights violations during his stint as provincial police director in North Cotabato. “It is disgusting to note that instead of holding him accountable over various crimes, he is being hailed by the government. His deployment here will surely be met with growing resistance as we reiterate our call to prosecute him and hold him accountable over Kidapawan massacre and various crimes,” she said.
Tagum had repeatedly denied all accusations against him and said protesters attacked policemen with guns and rocks and that farmers shot and killed two of their own during the violence. (Mindanao Examiner)

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