4 more Bacolod activists released on bail

Progressive groups condemn the arrests of activists in Negros island and Manila these past few weeks. (Photo by Carlo Manalansan/ Bulatlat)

MANILA — Three activists who were among those arrested in the Oct. 31 simultaneous raids in Bacolod City were granted temporary liberty after posting bail, according to human rights group Karapatan-Negros.

John Milton Lozande, secretary general of National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), was freed Nov. 11. Anne Krueger of alternative media Paghimutad and organizer of BPO Industry Employees Network Philippines (BIEN) and Danilo Tabura, NFSW paralegal officer, walked out of jail yesterday, Nov. 12.

Roberto Lachica, NFSW staff, was also allowed to post bail this afternoon, Nov. 13.

Supporters were able to raise funds for the bail of the four, amounting to P540,000.(US$10,630)

Karapatan-Negros told Bulatlat in an online interview that seven more activists arrested in Bacolod last Oct. 31 and two more arrested in Escalante City on Nov. 1 remain in jail. They have been charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives, a non-bailable offense.

The military has claimed that the 57 activists, including 10 minors were undergoing firearms and explosive training in the offices.

Last week, 32 of those arrested in the simultaneous raids have also been released.  They include 21 laid-off workers of Vallacar Transit Inc., which operates the Ceres Bus line, and 11 members of the cultural group Teatro Obrero.

In a statement, Altermidya, a national network of alternative media outfits, thanked those who supported and called for the release of Krueger. The network has called on authorities to drop all the charges against Krueger and 56 other activists.

Karapatan-Negros has condemned the arrests and accused the military of planting of evidence against members of progressive organizations.

Clarizza Singson, secretary general of Karapatan-Negros, said the recent incidents prove that the Duterte administration “is desperate in silencing the vocal critics of his fascist and tyrannical rule, anti-poor and anti-people policies.”

“We will not be cowed and silenced, instead we will stand and fight back!” Singson said. ()

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