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Kitchenworkers volunteers in QC arrested for ‘protesting’ on Labor Day

/ 05:59 PM May 01, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Several leftist groups have claimed that volunteers of a relief operation for workers in Barangay Central, Quezon City were arrested for allegedly participating in Labor Day protests amid the lockdown.

According to Kabataan party-list and Anakbayan, at least 15 residents and jeepney drivers of the said barangay were summoned by barangay officials amid reports that they took part in demonstrations on Friday.

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Both groups said that the volunteers are now at the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) headquarters in Camp Karingal.

“Mariing kinukundena ng Kabataan Party-list ang harassment at paghuli ng mga kapulisan sa mga residente at volunteer sa Barangay Central, Quezon City ngayong Mayo Uno, bunsod ng paglulunsad ng Kusinang Kabataan sa inistyatiba ng Cure COVID at Tulong Kabataan bilang ayuda sa mga mamamayan sa ilalim ng military lockdown ng rehimeng Duterte,” Kabataan said.

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(Kabataan party-list strongly condemns the police’s harassment and the arrest made towards residents and volunteers in Barangay Central, Quezon City this May 1, due to the launch of the Kusinang Kabataan with the initiative of the Cure COVID and Tulong Kabataan groups as assistance to people affected by the lockdown.)

“Ginigitpit at tinatakot ng mga pulis ang mga residente na sila ay maaaring arestuhin dahil sa pagbibitbit ng mga panwagan para sa mass testing at agarang pamimigay ng ayuda. Sa ngayon, nananatili sa Camp Karingal ang mga kabataang volunteer,” Anakbayan added.

(The police are threatening the residents that they may be arrested by just bringing placards calling for mass testing and distribution of social aid.  As of now, the youth volunteers are detained at Camp Karingal.)

On Thursday, on the eve of May 1, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) announced that they would be celebrating the Labor Day by providing food to Quezon City workers affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) over Luzon and other areas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tulong Kabataan’s Kusinang Manggagawa looks to feed at least 7,000 people in need of social assistance.

As the Philippine National Police (PNP) warned that demonstrators would be arrested if they violate travel restrictions under the ECQ, CEGP assured that they would be observing physical distancing measures to avoid the local transmission of the latest coronavirus strain.

INQUIRER.net has asked QCPD chief Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo to confirm the incident, but he has yet to reply as of posting time.

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Meanwhile, Kabataan and Anakbayan insist that the volunteers did not violate any regulation under the ECQ.

“Naninindigan ang Kabataan Party-list na walang maling ginawa ang mga residente at mga volunteer sa pagsasagawa ng Kusinang Kabtaan at iba pang aktibidad sa ilalim ng Cure COVID,” Kabataan said.

(Kabataan party-list insists that the volunteers and the residents did not do anything wrong in conducting Kusinang Kabataan and other activities under the Cure COVID.)

“Ilang linggo nang ginagawa ang mga ito upang magbigay ng kaunting ayuda sa mamamayan, lalo na at mabagal at hindi sapat ang ayudang ipinapamahagi ng pamahalaan. Hindi rin krimen ang pangangalampag sa pamahalaan upang kagyat na tugunan ang mga pangangailangang pangkalusugan at kabuhayan ng mamamayan,” Anakbayan added.

(They have been doing these several weeks now, to provide a little aid to people especially since the aid provision has been slow and not enough.  Criticizing the government so that they can quickly assist people’s health and livelihood needs is not a crime.)

Earlier, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) denounced the arrest of over 50 other activists on Labor Day, including ten relief volunteers in Marikina City.

City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro ordered the police to free the activists, as the Philippine National Police (PNP) appeared to be ‘overreacting’ towards the volunteers’ act of bringing placards.

It is first in the history of the labor sector to switch to an online protest due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced people to stay at home.  However, several activities have been laid out in celebration of Labor Day.

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TAGS: 2019 Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, Activists, Anakbayan, arrest, Barangay Central, COVID-19, ECQ, enhanced community quarantine, Kabataan party list, Kilusang Mayo Uno, KMU, Kusinang Manggagawa, Labor Day, Labor groups, lockdown, May 1, nCoV update, online protest, Philippine news updates, physical distancing, Protests, Quezon City, Quezon City Police District (QCPD) headquarters in Camp Karingal, social distancing, Tulong Kabataan
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