The urban poor alliance Kadamay on Sunday condemned the arrest of a community leader in Pandi, Bulacan, and the confiscation of copies of Pinoy Weekly, an independent newspaper, saying the police did both without presenting any warrants.
Kadamay said the police came in "squads" to arrest one of its leaders, Rose Fortaleza, after they "entered the occupied Villa Lois housing site to conduct illegal searches without a warrant."
“We have always said that the poor will be hit first by [President Rodrigo] Duterte's repression,” Kadamay spokesperson Mimi Doringo said in a statement.
"Is it illegal to distribute a brochure and a newspaper today? The police did not have a search warrant and there was no basis for the arrest and confiscation of our materials, but they continued. Who is the criminal here?”
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines also condemned the police action.
“It is totally ludicrous for the police to justify what, to our mind, constitutes armed robbery by claiming, falsely, that Pinoy Weekly is illegal and teaches people to fight the government.
“Pinoy Weekly is a perfectly legal and legitimate news organization, like all the outfits that belong to the alternative media. This incident is a very clear example of the dangers the Filipino people face from the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
The Kilusang Mayo Uno similarly condemned what the police did in Pandi, Bulacan.
The group PMANTIK also reported the forced surrender and red-tagging of workers at the Coca Cola plant in Laguna days before Duterte’s State-of-the-Union Address.
“Police officers from PNP Calabarzon presented around 131 ‘NPA surrenderees’, 71 of which, they say, are from the workers’ sector in Laguna, KMU said.
PAMANTIK slammed the PNP for forcing workers to attend ‘union seminars,’ “which is in reality a platform to recruit AFP reservists to be deployed for counterinsurgency efforts.
In Meycauayan, Bulacan, members of the Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Supreme-NAFLU-KMU were holding a meeting in the morning of July 26 when three police officers in plainclothes tried to stop their assembly.
The group quoted the police as saying that meetings were banned during the pandemic.
In Quezon City, the local union in Paperland Inc. said the police tried to enter the factory looking for its president. They left after being turned away by the security guards.
“KMU is extremely disgusted with the state’s use of police authority to undermine the freedom of workers and the poor to organize and be involved in activities concerning their socio-economic and political lives,” the group said.