Fishers slam illegal arrest of relief volunteers
Manila, Philippines — The national fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) slams the illegal apprehension of 6 volunteers from Tulong Anakpawis and Sagip Kanayunan, relief operations drives headed by various peasant organizations conducting humanitarian aid and relief campaign to poor families affected by the corona virus disease (COVID-19) and the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
In Sunday morning, six volunteers including the jeepney driver who were about to distribute relief packs to a peasant community in Norzagaray town, Bulacan province was held at a police checkpoint and brought to the municipal police station. They were brought to Police Regional Office 3 in Malolos, Bulacan afterwards and are still being held without any offence or violation as of writing.
“We condemn the Norzagaray police for illegal apprehension of relief volunteers conducting assistance to the distressed rural families caused by the total lockdown. This is clearly interference of humanitarian activity which is urgently of the essence in times of a public emergency,” Fernando Hicap. PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA said that the jeepney vehicle used by the relief volunteer holds an official food pass issued by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Director Eduardo Gongona.
“We have complied with all the necessary requirements including acquiring a food pass issued by no less than the bureau of fisheries; to ensure that essential services like foods and basic needs will be able to pass through strict quarantine checkpoints without unnecessary delays. Because of this fascist act, our continued relief to poor fisherfolk communities are now threatened, as we source the vegetables from Norzagaray farmers. This is violative of the ‘bayanihan’ spirit, that all sectors should be helping those gravely affected by the lockdown,” Hicap added.
PAMALAKAYA calls the public to condemn the illegal apprehension and and vile harassment of the authorities against the humanitarian volunteers. ###