The University of the Philippines Diliman Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas (UP DFPP) has condemned the arrest of Amanda Echanis and called for her immediate release.
Amanda, 32, a peasant organizer and daughter of slain activist Randall Echanis, was arrested along with her one-month-old son in Barangay Carupian in Baggao, Cagayan on December 2.
Amanda currently detained in Camp Adduro in Tuguegarao City for alleged illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
UP DFPP called the arrest of Echanis “illegal” and “baseless.”
“Walang nilabag si Amanda. Hindi siya kriminal o rebelde. Siya ay mananaliksik at manunulat para sa Amihan, isang non-government organization na tumutulong sa mga kababaihang magsasaka sa Pilipinas. Sa katunayan, nang ilegal na hinuli si Amanda, kabilang siya sa nagsasagawa ng relief operarions sa Cagayan, sa kabila ng pagiging bagong panganak niya (Amanda did not violate anything. She is not a criminal nor a rebel. She is a researcher and writer for Amihan, a non-government organization that helps women farmers in the Philippines. In fact, when Amanda was illegally arrested, she was among those conducting relief operations in Cagayan, despite the fact that she newly gave birth),” the UP DFPP said in a statement.
“Walang batayan ang ilegal na pag-aresto kay Amanda. Paanong magbibitbit ng armas at pampasabog ang isang bagong panganak na ina? (The illegal arrest of Amanda has no basis. How can a mother who just gave birth carry a weapon and explosive?)” UP DFPP added.
Echanis is an alumna of UP Diliman, where she took BA Malikhaing Pagsulat, under the DFPP.
“Bilang manunulat, isinabuhay niya ang pagiging artista at mag-aaral na may malasakit at pakikisangkot sa magsasaka, manggagawa at mga kaugnay na sektor. Patunay sa kanyang pagsisikap, husay, at dedikasyon ang akda niyang Nanay Mameng: Isang Dula, na itinanghal sa iba’t ibang kolehiyo at unibersidad sa Maynila noong 2015 (As a writer, she dedicated her life as an artist and student standing up for farmers, workers, and related sectors. Proof of her efforts, skills, and dedicated is the play she authored — Mameng: Isang Dula, which was staged at various colleges and universities in Manila in 2015),” UP DFPP said.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police Gen. Debold Sinas said Echanis, 32, is “involved in an underground communist movement” who yielded an M16 rifle and two grenades when police served a search warrant in her house in Barangay Carupian in Baggao town.
Police identified Amanda as finance officer of the West Front, Komiteng Probinsya ng Cagayan (COMPROB) Cagayan of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) operating in Cagayan Valley region.