Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004

About

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

Published by Bayan Metro Manila

The police should immediately stop its trolling and terror tactics targeting activists and community leaders who are in charge of grassroots relief efforts.

We condemn the rising cases of harassment by state troops in our communities. Officials identifying themselves as DILG and intelligence operatives have repeatedly harassed our members and chapters in Manila for gathering donations and participating in online noise barrage (kalampag) actions.

We reiterate that organizing a community relief activity is not a crime. Participating in a political action highlighting the slow arrival of government assistance is not against the law. We fear that authorities are demonizing these peaceful initiatives as a prelude to a broader crackdown on dissent.

The government is desperate to silence criticism especially after its so-called social amelioration program is quickly being exposed as wholly inadequate, highly selective, and bogged down by bureaucratic inefficiencies. It is outrageous that authorities are more aggressive in harassing activists and filing ludicrous charges against critics instead of fast-tracking the delivery of aid to poor households.

This is the result of the national government’s ill-conceived strategy of militarizing the solution to the COVID-19 public health crisis. It is infuriating that the public health crisis is being resolved through the repressive lens used by law enforcers.

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.

Background

On March 29, 2020, 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. They warned against fake donation campaigns meant to destabilize the government. 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.

On April 5, 2020, four residents of Barangay 105 in Tondo were summoned by barangay officials accompanied by three ‘DILG’ officers. The residents were told to stop initiating noise barrage actions or else authorities will start conducting arrests in the community.

Bayan Metro Manila has launched Kilusang Bayanihan, a network of people’s organizations that are gathering relief and organizing donation campaigns in various communities.

Bayan Metro Manila is part of the #ProtestFromHome event on March 22 and March 29 which criticized the inadequate assistance from the government. The group is also an organizer of the April 3 Black Friday protest which condemned the arrest of Sitio San Roque residents who protested the lack of government aid. The protest also demanded the immediate granting of economic aid, the deployment of testing kits, and the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

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