Parents and relatives are not allowed to enter the premises of the said government agencies.
By JOMARI ALEJANDRO III HERRERA
MANILA — Various groups demanded the release of youth activists, who were among those rounded up during a joint police and military operation in Negros Occidental on Oct. 31.
Among the reported 57 arrested were 17 youth activists, six female minors, and seven male minors. Eight of them were earlier reported missing and were only surfaced recently.
Human rights group Karapatan reported that the arrested youths are currently detained in the Women and Children Protection Desk, Social Development Center of the Bacolod City Police Office, and the Chapel of Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office.
Parents and relatives are not allowed to enter the premises of the said government agencies. Police officers guarding the gates said that a certain PNP Officer Arlene Torrendon gave strict orders not to allow anyone to visit even the minors.
Eight of the detained youth are members of cultural organization Teatro Obrero and Teatro Bungkal, and were rehearsing in the offices when the raids occurred.
All members of the cultural groups were also subjected to investigation by unidentified police officers and were psychologically harassed by the police.
In a statement, College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) National President Daryl Baybado condemned the arrest of the youth leaders, saying that the arrest is an example of the state’s desperation to quell the critical and progressive thinking of the youth. Baybado said, “this tyrannic maneuver is enabled by President Duterte’s Executive Order 70, proving that there is indeed a de facto Martial Law in our country.”