Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

Published by Bayan Metro Manila

We condemn the police for violently dispersing the peaceful protest of Sitio San Roque residents in Quezon City. We are outraged that the state response to the appeals for relief is terror and brutal detention. This is insensitive, repressive, and inhuman.

This is the result of the national government’s ill-conceived strategy of militarizing the solution to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Earlier, data released by the police clearly showed the militarist framework in managing the Luzon-wide lockdown to contain COVID-19. Instead of assuaging the fears of the public, the police even threatened to continue arresting those who violate curfews and quarantine restrictions.

Instead of imposing fines and filing charges, the police should extend ‘human compassion’ to so-called violators, who are most likely workers and breadwinners seeking food and relief for their families.

They risked breaking the lockdown regulations and even acquiring the infectious disease because of their desperation either to get aid for their families or earn a living. The Duterte government is liable for creating this mass anxiety after it failed to properly plan on how to address the drastic repercussion of the lockdown policy.

The aggressive campaign to arrest quarantine violators is the opposite of the lackluster delivery of relief to poor households. The crisis might have turned out differently if only the government showed more fervor in preparing for mass testing instead of directing the police to conduct mass arrests.

It is infuriating that the public health crisis is being resolved through the repressive lens used by law enforcers. Our people need urgent relief, not hefty fines and other penalties. Food for the hungry and not draconian prison terms. Fake news must be countered with reliable, verifiable information and it should not lead to the criminalization of free speech.

We challenge the police to arrest VIPs and other politicians who broke quarantine protocols. We ask authorities to stop state trolls from spreading hate speech and fake news against critics of the government’s response to COVID-19.

The numbers presented by the police do not reflect the daily suffering endured by citizens who encounter various types of abuses and humiliations in checkpoints and other public places. In the past two weeks, we have documented several cases of right violations in Metro Manila communities.

North Caloocan (Bagong Silang)
March 21, 2020

  • Around 5:30pm, 3 military, 6 police and a barangay official arrested approximately 50 people from different phases in Bagong Silang
  • Their cellphones were confiscated upon arrest and they were then taken to the basketball court for detention
  • They were detained for about 11 hours. Their phones were returned upon their release at around 4:30am the following day.
  • During this period, no quarantine pass was being issued by the barangay

North Caloocan (Bagong silang)
March 21, 2020

  • Tensions rise in a public market in Bagong Silang between the barangay officials and market goers
  • This further escalated when a member of the SWAT was seen pulling-out his gun

South Caloocan (Pajo)

  • Regular military presence and roving ala saturation drive in the streets of Pajo

Navotas West, Navotas
March 26, 2020

  • Youths throwing out their trash were arrested by police
  • Their parents went to the barangay and pleaded that their children weren’t doing anything wrong. They were released around 10:00pm

Catmon, Malabon

  • Barangay officials refuse to release quarantine pass for those who are not members of local/community associations

Manila, Sampaloc/Balic-Balic
March 29, 2020

  • Around 6:40pm, two police officers “visited” the Bayan Manila office in Balic-Balic. They introduced themselves as operatives from Manila Precinct 4 Intelligence Operative Department
  • They inquired about the online campaign for a donation drive and the mass testing campaign posted on the Facebook page of Bayan Manila
  • When asked why they were in civilian clothing, the police officers answered that they are doing intel work and it isn’t necessary that they be in uniform

March 31,2020

  • Residents from a demolished community in Pasay were forcefully taken to a police station
  • On-duty barangay officials and military personnel were present inside the station and were harassing the residents to take down their posts on Facebook regarding the demolition of their homes
  • They were threatened by the police that they would be arrested and detained if they don’t take down their posts

We seek an official investigation into these cases of harassment targeting ordinary citizens and activists.

We are calling for the lifting of the unnecessary lockdown restrictions and instead prioritize the delivery of social welfare programs in our communities.

Bayan Metro Manila
Karapatan Metro Manila

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