Philippines: Police arrest activists performing COVID-19 relief work
On April 20, Marco L. Valbuena, the Chief Information Officer of the Communist Party of the Philippines denounced the arrest of former Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao and 12 other volunteers and residents by elements of the Philippine National Police in Norzagaray, Bulacan.
“The arrest shows the Duterte regime’s perverse priorities even amid the pandemic and utter contempt for the plight of the Filipino people. Instead of focusing on efforts to ensure the welfare of the people suffering under the restrictive lockdown, it has intensified the fascist clampdown against activists even when they are conducting relief work,” stated Valbuena.
“The arrest of the activists is clearly the handiwork of Duterte’s military-led National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which is also the real core behind his COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force. The one-track minded militarists are anti-democratic zealots who want every aspect of society under the control of the military and are intolerant of people’s initiatives. These are the same generals who have criminally bungled the Philippines' anti-COVID response due to their ineptness, inefficiency and fascist mindset,” continued Valbuena.
Casilao and five other volunteers were set to deliver relief goods to farmers when they were apprehended at a checkpoint at 10:15 a.m., April 19. They were brought to the Norzagaray police station, along with seven residents who were supposed to receive aid, and were detained there for two hours. They were then brought to the Bulacan Police Provincial Office in Malolos where they are being held until today.