DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Seven activists were arrested by police authorities after dispersing a peaceful protest action against the Anti-Terror Bill on Friday morning, June 5, in Cebu City.
Arrested were Jaime Paglinawan of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Central Visayas, Janry Ubal of Food Not Bombs-Cebu, Dyan Gumanao of Kabataan Partylist-Cebu, Joahanna Veloso of the National Union of Students of the Philippines, Bern Cañedo of University of the Philippines (UP)-Cebu Student Council, Nar Porlas of Anakbayan-UP Cebu, and Al Ingking, an alum of UP.
They were put under the custody of Cebu City Police Office Camp Sotero Cabahug pending the filing of complaints.
The dispersal happened five minutes into the protest program participated by around 50 individuals most of whom are students of UP-Cebu, said John Ruiz, coordinator for Bayan Muna Partylist-Central Visayas, in a phone interview by Davao Today.
“Police were there earlier before we even started; saying we should not do the protest (because) we are still under general community quarantine and social gatherings are prohibited,” he shared.
But protesters, he noted, followed physical distancing and brought with them their quarantine pass. He also clarified that the protest action was done within the vicinity of UP Cebu and it didn’t cause any public disorder.
But shortly after their program started, the police ordered to stop the protest. Ruiz said about 30 policemen and several Special Weapons and Tactics personnel in full battle gear ran towards the campus to disperse the protesters.
“Those who arrested our colleagues were non-uniform individuals which some of them even have guns. At first, we thought that they are just bystanders but when the police ordered dispersal, they violently attack and chase the protesters,” he narrated.
Based on the accord between UP and the Department of National Defense, the police and military are not allowed on the UP grounds sans permission.
An alert released by the College Editors Guild of the Philippines noted that some UP Cebu guards also helped in dispersing the protest action.
Activists called for the junking of the anti-terror bill which was passed on third and final reading in the Lower House recently.
As of this writing, no case has been filed against the arrested. (davaotoday.com)