Zambales youth activists released after Labor Day arrest

Twelve youth activists were released after three days of detention. (Photo from the Facebook account of Free Zambales 12 Network)

The police and military also forced the victims to sign a document linking them to the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), CEGP said.

By ARNETH ASIDDAO
Bulatlat.com

(Updated: May, 6, 2021; 7:30 p.m.) MANILA — Twelve activists including youth leaders and a campus journalist have been released two days after they were arrested in Castillejos, Zambales on their way to a Labor Day protest.

Youth activists from the League of Filipino Students (LFS) Zambales and a journalist from College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) Central Luzon, along with their driver, were detained on Monday for “lack of social distancing.”

According to CEGP, the police threatened to expose the victims’ personal information and posted their photos on a Facebook page called “Makatarungan Battalion.” In its post, Makatarungan Battalion labeled the activists’ placards with calls such as “Stop the attacks” and “Solusyong medikal, hindi militar” as “anti-government slogans.”

“Even with legitimate calls and demands for a systematic solution to the pandemic, these organizations and the people involved are still branded with hostility,” CEGP said.

CEGP added that posting photos of the victims and their vehicle’s plate number without their consent violates their right to privacy.

The police and military also forced the victims to sign a document linking them to the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), CEGP said.

Kabataan Partylist said the Duterte government has chosen to address calls for a safe return to school, economic aid and a comprehensive Covid-19 plan with violence and repression.

LFS-Zambales called the arrest a “manifestation that the police and the military, who are fascist and mercenary in nature, shouldn’t be relied on to interpret terrorism.”

CEGP said, “As legitimate organizations are red-tagged and members are silenced and arrested, the point becomes clearer: that the Duterte administration cannot take truthful criticism and is hiding behind the state forces to stifle and arrest those who dare to speak up.”

The activists have been released on bail amounting to almost P81,220 ($1,692) collected through donation campaigns.

In a Facebook post, Free Zambales 12 Network said they will continue to campaign for the release of many other victims of illegal arrest and detention in the “government’s militaristic pandemic response.”

“As long as the current administration considers it a crime to forward the people’s demands during a pandemic, it only proves that its pandemic response is a failure and its only way of addressing it is attacking critics and progressives,” Kabataan Partylist said. (https://www.bulatlat.com)

Editor’s note: This article was updated to correct the exact amount of bail.

Share This Post

Post Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.