Lucena PNP blocks peasant protest caravan from Bicol

Police confiscate the drivers’ licenses for “not wearing seatbelt.” (Photo courtesy of KMP)

MANILA – Police blocked 28 buses of peasant activists travelling along Quezon province last night. The farmers are bound for Manila for a rally on Oct. 25.

In the evening of Oct. 22, Bulatlat received an urgent report from Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao that the peasant protest caravan from Bicol were blocked by the Provincial Public Safety Company 6th Maneuver Platoon of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Talipan village, Pagbilao in Quezon Province.

The buses were blocked at 7:30 P.M., by police led by a certain Major Morillo. The police confiscated the license of a number of drivers, for “not wearing seatbelt.” They eventually gave back the licenses to the drivers.

The Bicol farmers were then allowed to proceed, and were able to spend the night in Los Banos, Laguna. They are expected to arrive in Manila later today, to join other peasants who had camped out of the Department of Agrarian Reform office in Quezon City.

At least 1,600 small coconut farmers and peasants from six Bicol provinces were bound for Calamba, Laguna so they can arrive in time for the Oct. 25 mobilization in Mendiola, the culmination of the two-week long celebration of National Peasant Month.

“This is a clear attempt to derail the nationwide protest caravan of farmers. But we will not be cowered,” said Bert Autor, chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bicol (KMB-KMP), said in a statement.

Twenty-eight buses of peasant activists lined up along the highway in Quezon province late Oct. 22 after being barred by police. (Photo courtesy of KMP)

This story was updated, Oct. 23, 2017, 9:12 A.M.

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