“Our illegal arrest and detention expose the government’s failure in addressing the pandemic, that instead of a medical solution, it is resorting to arrests and imprisonment, which basically defeats the purpose of physical distancing especially if being detained in congested prison cells.”
By AARON MACARAEG
“ MANILA- Relief operation volunteers from Sagip Kanayunan and Tulong Anakpawis and former Anakpawis Partylist Representative Ariel Casilao have been granted temporary freedom after posting bail, April 22.
In a statement, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said they will “continue to seek justice for the unlawful arrest, arbitrary detention, threat, harassment and intimidation carried out by the Philippine National Police against their relief volunteers.”
The peasant group, which is also one of the allied organizations of Sagip Kanayunan and Tulong Anakpawis, added that they will continue to expose the “martial law-style” implementation of enhanced community quarantine as the government’s response to the pandemic.
The six volunteers were arrested on April 19 while on their way to conduct relief operations in Norzagaray, Bulacan. Casilao, who responded to the arrested volunteers, was also detained.
They were charged with violating the Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act, attempted inciting to sedition. Casilao was also charged with usurpation of authority.
In a statement sent to the media, the former legislator thanked those who campaigned for their release and contributed to their bail amounting to P274,000.
Casilao maintained that they did nothing wrong and that the charges were a targeted attack on activists carrying out humanitarian activities.
“Our illegal arrest and detention expose the government’s failure in addressing the pandemic, that instead of a medical solution, it is resorting to arrests and imprisonment, which basically defeats the purpose of physical distancing especially if being detained in congested prison cells,” Casilao said.
Casilao also said that the Tulong Anakpawis will continue to provide aid to communities of farmers, fisherfolk, and urban poor affected by the total lockdown.
“It is both right and duty of every Filipino to aid those in need. The government has no moral authority to sabotage the relief efforts of activists. The delivery of nutri-lief packs to the impoverished communities will continue,” Casilao concluded.