Kabataan Party-list condemns the arrests and calls for the release of four (4) urban poor in Pandi, Bulacan.
Four (4) members of urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) were arrested on Monday, July 27, after they showed solidarity with #SONAgKAISA protesters from their housing unit in Brgy. Cacarong, Pandi, Bulacan.
The Pandi 4 simply exercised their freedom of expression and right to peaceably assemble by airing their grievances and demands while strictly following health protocols, yet they were arbitrarily arrested and slapped with baseless and malicious trumped-up charges of non-reporting of notifiable diseases, and resistance and disobedience to persons in authority.
A day before the State of the Nation Address (SONA), the Bulacan police also stormed the local headquarters of KADAMAY and confiscated newspapers and magazines of alternative media Pinoy Weekly for containing articles critical of the government.
Kabataan Party-list condemns the arrests as plain acts of harassment and persecution of the people, especially the urban poor, amid their struggle for livelihood, accessible social services, and sound government response to the pandemic.
The arrests came a week after the Anti-Terrorism Act took effect on July 18, 2020, which clearly further emboldened the police and other state forces in their persecution campaign against critics and activists. What happened in Bulacan may set a dangerous precedent to other groups and individuals merely exercising their constitutionally enshrined human rights and be criminalized and detained for it.
Kabataan Party-list calls for the release of the Pandi 4 as well as the junking of the Terror Law, and for a comprehensive, health-based and pro-people–not anti-people and militarist–pandemic response.