Scientists call for the release of physicist involved in disaster rehab
work in Mindanao

Agham Press Release

24 February 2014

International and local scientists reiterate their call for the
immediate release of physicist Kim Gargar who is currently detained and
facing trumped up charges in Mindanao. It has been more than three
months since Gargar was arrested by the millitary in Cateel, Davao
Oriental as he was working on a rehabilitation project in devastated
areas hit by Typhoon Pablo.

“We, at Agham, finds Kim’s arrest and detention absurd and baseless. The
military should be taught basic science and logic for hastily equating
his presence in far-flung communities doing rehabilitation work as
subversion and involvement with armed groups,” says Finesa Cosico of
Agham Advocates and Science and Technology for the People.

Kim Gargar was found injured on a creek by the elements of the 67th
Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army last October 1, 2013 at Brgy.
Aliwagwag, Cateel, Davao Oriental.

“The next we heard is that Kim was being charged with various offences
and he is being made to admit that he is a member of the New People’s
Army. He was not even given immediate treatment from the injuries he
incurred during his accident.” says Cosico.

Cosico furthers, “Based from the facts we have gathered, there has been
an encounter between the military and the NPA days before Kim’s
accident. The military was not able to capture anyone from the rebel
groups, so when they found Kim, even if it was at quite a distance from
the site of the encounter, the military immediately attributed the
incident to him.”

Kim’s explanation of his presence in the areas is that he was doing
research when he heard gunshots, he panicked, fell in a nearby creek and
got injured. He was then found by the military and got arrested.

In his arraignment last Oct 24, 2013 at the Branch 7, 11th Judicial
Region, Regional Trial Court of Baganga, he pleaded not guilty on
charges of Illegal Possession of explosives, attempted Murder, and
Violation of COMELEC Gun Ban.

In the pre-trial hearing last November 26-27, 2013, his legal counsel,
Atty. Ed Estores of the Union of People’s Lawyer in Mindanao, was able
to dispute the statement of the military’s witness regarding the
explosives and rifle that were allegedly found near the creek where Kim
fell.

“Other than their story that Kim was carrying heavy explosives and
rifles, which we doubt if the military personnel even with their
training would be able to carry themselves, they don’t have proof to
support their story,” explains Cosico.

The trial hearing for the file charges will be heard on February 26,
2014 at the Baganga Regional Trial Court in Davao Oriental. He is
presently detained at the Baganga Subjail.

Cosico asserts, “We implore the military to please rethink their line of
reasoning. Field scientist doing research and rehab work in a remote
area does not equal to being a member of the NPA.”

Support from other scientists

Before Kim’s involvement with the rehabilitation work in Davao Oriental,
he is always been a scientist devoted to community service. His work in
AGHAM as a volunteer scientist fulfilled his vision of bringing science
to the people who have long been deprived of the social services that
should be provided by the government.

Since his arrest last Oct 1, 2013, there is an outpour of support from
various institutions, groups, and individuals from the country and
abroad demanding for the dismissal of trumped-up charges filed against
him. Even international scientists whom Kim has personally worked with
have called for his release.

The President of the Groningen University in the Netherlands where Kim
is currently enrolled for his PhD in Chronobiology has already expressed
concern for Kim’s situation. He wrote a letter to President Aquino
urging him intervene with the criminal cases Kim is facing.

The International Coordinating Committee for Human Rights in the
Philippines based in the Netherlands, as well as other Filipino
communities and friends in Europe support the call for his immediate
release.

Students and colleagues of Kim in local universities where he taught,
Mapua, Polytechnic University of the Philippines and University of the
Philippines have also expressed alarm on how field scientists are
vilified and persecuted in the country.

“We appeal to the government and call for the dismissal of Kim’s
baseless case and order for
his immediate release. The state of the science and technology here in
the country is very poor
which pushes our scientists to migrate to other countries and do their
research there. Let us not allow Kim to suffer in jail just because he
chose to side with the poor and work in the field instead of abroad or
in the laboratory,” ends Cosico.

Reference: Finesa Cosico, Secretary General, Agham Advocates of Science
and Technology for the People 09178115445.


Make science and technology serve the people!

ADVOCATES OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FOR THE PEOPLE (AGHAM)
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T: +63 2 998 4226
URL: www.agham.org