Saturday, May 18, 2024

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Do not vilify people’s scientists! Release Kim Gargar now!


The AGHAM-Advocates of Science and Technology for the People strongly condemns the illegal arrest and detention of its member, physicist Kim Gargar, by the elements of the 67th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Gargar was caught in a crossfire between government soldiers and NPA rebels, while undertaking a research in connection with rehabilitation efforts on the impacts of Typhoon Pablo in Cateel, Davao Oriental. He was then arrested and charged with trumped up cases.

Gargar is a true blue scientist of the people. 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 was definite he will return to Davao. He lamented the inaction and lack of support for the devastated communities, five months after Typhoon Pablo. He talked of the immense need to rehabilitate the forests and the environment to reduce the risks of disasters and help the people regain their source of water and life. In his return to Manila, Gargar immediately requested to be temporarily seconded to Panalipdan Southern Mindanao to be allowed to directly contribute to restoration efforts.

The military’s claims are all incredible. Kim Gargar is not and has never been a member of the New People’s Army. He planned to work in Davao for six months with the communities in their efforts to rise up from the devastation of Typhoon Pablo. He planned to bring his family to his home province in Iligan this Christmas, before returning to work in Manila.

Kim Gargar graduated as Magna Cum Laude with a degree in BS Physics. After graduation, he taught at the University of the Philippines Diliman. He also pursued his passion for teaching aspiring physicists at the MAPUA Institute of Technology and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. As a bright boy from an underprivileged family in Iligan, Kim treasured scientific education and viewed it not just as a tool to further his personal gains but as a critical element in developing technologies for national development. He continued his studies as a doctorate student specializing in Chronobiology, a branch of science dealing with biological rhythms and cyclic processes in living organisms, at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

Carrying out AGHAM’s advocacy of making science and technology for the people, Kim decided to devote his time to volunteer work in AGHAM. As a scientist for the people, he unselfishly shared his technical expertise and energy in explaining scientific concepts to local communities to help sharpen their analysis in confronting issues that affect them.

His involvement with AGHAM includes the promotion of the People’s Science School in urban poor communities and the Science for the People Colloquium, a venue for scientists to share their research outputs on appropriate technology for community development. In the universities he worked, he institutionalized research groups inside science organizations with the aim of matching the subject of researches with the needs of marginalized communities.

As an environmental advocate, he was part of environmental investigative missions on various issues such as the impacts of cassava monocrop plantation in Isabela, the flooding study of the Buawaya River in Cordillera. Kim was an active member of a citizens’ watchdog group that monitored the issue of the huge mine spill caused by the failure of the tailings impoundment of Philex Mines in Benguet.

AGHAM calls for the immediate release of Kim Gargar and demands that all trumped-up charges be dropped so he could continue practicing his life-long commitment as a scientist for the people.

Kim is currently helping in the rainforestation 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 rainforestation and rehabilitation process.

As such, AGHAM calls for the immediate release of Kim Gargar and demands that all trumped-charges be dropped so he could continue practicing his life-long commitment as a scientist for the people.

Maria Finesa Cosico
Secretary General, AGHAM
0917 811 5445

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