“This shows how desperate Aquino is to silence our calls to junk Apec, all for his masters.”
By DEE AYROSO
MANILA – Hundreds of police men are virtually holding the Manilakbayan protest caravan in detention, inside the Baclaran Church compound in Parañaque City where they have set up camp since Nov. 13.
Earlier this evening, hundreds of police formed a barricade, along with four passenger buses, to block the gates of the Baclaran church facing Roxas Boulevard. The police barricade barred three jeepneys from leaving the compound. Some 100 Lumád on board were headed to the Iglesia Filipina Independiente National Cathedral in Manila, where they were to be accommodated.
Police also positioned themselves outside the side gate facing Redemptorist road.
The police confiscated the license of one of the drivers, and issued them tickets for being out of line, or leaving their registered route. The passenger jeepneys were members of the transport group Piston, with routes in Cubao, Quezon City.
The pastors and religious leaders of the Baclaran church came out to negotiate with the police, who still refused to let the jeeps pass.
“We condemn the display of fascism in the form of hundreds of policemen stationed outside the gates of Baclaran, under orders from President BS Aquino. They are preventing us from moving out of our Kampuhan,” said Jomorito Goaynon, chairperson of Kalumbay Northern Mindanao and first nominee of Sulong Katribu partylist.
“This is their opening salvo to quell our resistance against Apec. This shows how desperate Aquino is to silence our calls to junk Apec, all for his masters. It’s apalling that our own government is willing to pay host to foreign plunderers than the original inhabitors of Mindanao,” Goaynon said.
The Manilakbayan relocated to the grounds of the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help (Baclaran Church) along Roxas boulevard, Paranaque city, after leaving Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila, where their allowed stay was cut short by the local government, due to impositions by Malacañang in line with the preparations for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit on Nov. 18 to 19.
Composed mostly of Lumád evacuees and victims of human rights violations in Mindanao, the Manilakbayan are set to participate in protests and other parallel activities to the Apec leaders’ summit.
“This shows how Aquino is the number one human rights violator. Not contented with kicking us out of Liwasang Bonifacio, now, they have cordoned off our new camp,” said Kerlan Panagel, chairperson of Pasaka day Salugpungan Kalimudan (Pasaka) and third nominee of the Sulong Katribu partylist.
Progressives have condemned government’s “martial law” security measures for Apec, including the “no permit-no rally” policy, cancellation of some 1,000 domestic and international flights, suspension of classes and work in offices from Nov. 17 to 20, closing off of roads. Government is also even mulling the jamming of telecom signal and shutting down internet in areas near the summit venue, at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).