Police in Laguna, Cavite block Southern Tagalog delegation commemorating EDSA people power uprising

February 25, 2024

Southern Tagalog activists blocked by police checkpoint in front of Los Baños Municipal Hall in Laguna. (Photo by Jacinto Lingatong)


LOS BAÑOS, Laguna — On the anniversary of the EDSA People Power uprising, policemen from Laguna and Cavite stopped the delegation from Southern Tagalog at checkpoints near the Los Baños Municipal Hall, in Santa Rosa, Laguna, and in Imus, Cavite.

The delegation was on its way to Manila to amplify calls of different sectors, especially regarding the railroading of the Marcos administration’s Charter Change.

While the police did not cite any specific violations in Laguna, they took photos of the delegation’s jeep license plates and drivers’ licenses and did not allow the delegation to pass through the checkpoints.

Human rights groups reported police checkpoints in 21 Laguna towns, in Rizal province, and Cavite province allegedly for public safety on the anniversary.

In Cavite, policemen charged the drivers for allegedly violating “change of vehicle color” and “the need to change oil”. Drivers’ licenses were confiscated and were threatened that their jeepneys would be towed and impounded. The jeepneys were then brought to Camp Pantaleon Garcia, headquarters of the Cavite Police Provincial Office (PPO). Activists were told that the jeepneys would be in police custody, citing inability to process paperwork because it’s a weekend.

The delegation in Cavite worried that the police might fabricate and plant fake evidence while the jeepneys are in their custody.

Defend Southern Tagalog, a human rights alliance in the Southern Tagalog region, criticized the police for violating democratic rights, arguing that people have the right to express dissent. They accused the police of intimidation and surveillance of students, peasants and workers preparing for mobilization.

READ: Groups assail police checkpoints, surveillance in Southern Tagalog a day before EDSA uprising protest

“We are here to bring our calls from the different sectors of the Southern Tagalog region to Manila but the PNP is here blocking our delegation without telling us what we violated. The Marcos administration is obviously scared of people fighting for their rights,” said Charm Maranan, spokesperson of Defend Southern Tagalog.

A program in front of the Los Baños Municipal was held with different progressive individuals and organizations who participated.

They called on Los Baños Mayor Anthony “Ton” Genuino and Laguna Governor Ramil L. Hernandez to allow the delegation to attend the EDSA anniversary mobilization.

“Let’s continue to uphold the spirit of EDSA by defending our democratic rights and advocating for our legitimate demands! We will assert our rights and make sure we will be able to march to EDSA Shrine,” said Maranan.

In a statement, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan condemned police’s actions. “The police checkpoints were installed to harass activists, conduct illegal surveillance, and discourage people from joining the scheduled protests today. They are a public nuisance, a waste of government resources, and a clear sign of police intolerance against any form of dissent,” Bayan Secretary General Raymond Palatino said in a statement.

(RVO) (https://www.bulatlat.org)


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