Daily abuses vs. Kadamay members in Pandi, Bulacan, bolster petitions to junk terror law – Anakpawis
Manila, Philippines – Days after members of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap or Kadamay in Pandi town, Bulacan confronted police abuses in two consecutive days, the Anakpawis Party-list denounced the Duterte government for its “state terrorism” and the incidents should bolster the petitions pending at the Supreme Court, calling for the junking of the Republic Act 11479 “Anti-Terrorism” Act or bluntly “terror law” as branded by activists. On July 26, the office of Kadamay Pandi chapter was raided by elements of PNP Bulacan sans search warrants, grabbed thousands of copies of progressive Pinoy Weekly newspapers and arrested the group’s leader Rose Fortaleza. The next day, four members of Kadamay were arrested for holding their photo protest coinciding the huge #SONAgKaisa protest in UP Diliman campus in Quezon City.
“As elements of the PNP abuses inexistent laws and mere protocol against mass gatherings, it would be worse for the terror law, which is prone to abuse, especially that the whole government machinery is on full-throttle of its red-tagging campaign and accusation of activists as terrorists. The Kadamay-Pandi consecutive abuses strengthens the arguments of the petitions against the terror law at the Supreme Court and demolishes the deceptive claims of its proponents of ‘safeguard’ provisions,” Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao, Anakpawis Party-list former representative said in a press statement.
He added that the incidents also vindicate the broad call “Junk Terror Law” and “Activism Not Terrorism” as cases of government abuses demolishes the sham rationale that it would only target terrorists in the country.
“Prior to the enactment, we have been firm that the law will be used against activists and dissent. The historical basis for critique is that government armed forces have been traditionally using existent or mere lowly protocols to arrest activists. Even the RA 11332 or Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, was used to arrest us last April, when we were holding a relief mission for a peasant community in Norzagaray, Bulacan. Thus, they would do worse with the terror law,” he stressed.
Based on a report by the progressive news site Bulatlat, 141 activists were arrested or accosted on the day of #SONAgKaisa protest. Thirty-four were arrested who were on their way to the venue at UP Diliman Campus, 85 were accosted in the Southern Tagalog region, on their way to the UP Los Baños campus venue of #KilosKatagalugan protest, and 22 more in Bulacan, Tuguegarao City and Cebu City.
“We demand the immediate #FreeRoseFortaleza and #FreePandi4 from Pandi, Bulacan, and we urge the people to stand firm to uphold basic democratic rights, amid the ‘state terror’ of the Duterte regime, and demand the junking of the terror law,” Casilao ended. ###