From: PhilConcerns [mailto:philconcerns-bounces@humanrightsphilippines.net] On Behalf Of International Coordinating Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
Sent: Friday, 11 October 2013 9:15 p.m.
To: philconcerns@humanrightsphilippines.net
Subject: [PhilConcerns] Online Petition calling for immediate release of KimGargar

Dear Friends,
We hope you can find the time to sign the online petition (text below) at http://www.freekimgargar.org/content/free-kim-gargar-illegally-arrested-illegally-detained.

Thank you.

In solidarity,
Angie M. Gonzales

Coordinator
International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines

Free Kim Gargar! Illegally Arrested. Illegally Detained.

We, the undersigned, demand for his immediate release and the dismissal of the trumped-up charges filed against Kim Gargar.

Kim Gargar was illegally arrested last October 2 by elements of the 67th Infantry Battalion while doing fieldwork for a project in Typhoon Pablo devastated areas.

He was caught in a crossfire between government soldiers and the New People’s Army (NPA) and remains in detention at the Mati Provincial Jail.

Kim was found 1.5 kilometers away from the encounter site injured as he leapt to a gully when he heard shots while he was preparing to observe fireflies in the area as part of a reforestation and rehabilitation project by Panalipdan Southern Mindanao.

Kim graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in BS Physics and as Class Valedictorian of the Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology and went to UP Diliman in 2001 to study and teach. He became a volunteer physicist of AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People since then. He later taught aspiring physicists at the MAPUA Institute of Technology and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and continued his studies as a PhD student of chronobiology at the University of Groningen .

He came back early this year and joined the Center for Environmental Concerns where he was active in different environmental investigative missions. When he personally witnessed the plight of his fellow Mindanaoenos when he was sent to join a humanitarian and fact finding mission last April 18-20, 2013, he wanted to return to Davao to help those who were affected by Typhoon Pablo. Upon his request, Kim was temporarily seconded to Panalipdan Southern Mindanao to be allowed to directly contribute to restoration efforts.

The military claim that Kim joined the NPA in 2012 is not true. He was still doing his dissertation in Groningen last year and came home only in 2013. Kim is not and has never been a member of the New People’s Army. He planned to work in Davao only for a while and in fact planned to bring his family to his home province in Iligan this Christmas before returning to work in Manila .

Kim was helping in the reforestation efforts to bring back the life of the forests of Cateel. Lives and livelihoods of hundreds of families in Cateel are dependent on the healthy functioning of this ecosystem, and Kim’s ongoing research is vital to the realization of the ongoing reforestation and rehabilitation process.

All he wanted was to help the people of Mindanao to rise up from the rubbles of environmental catastrophe. The military mindset that everyone they encounter in the mountains and forests are automatically tagged as NPAs is dangerous for scientists who do field research. We are reminded of the military’s callous murder of botanist Leonard Co as he was doing field research in Leyte three years ago. Kim’s illegal detention is a great offense and a criminal act not only to him but the people whom he is serving.