Three days after their detention, the seven activists who staged a protest against the Aquino administration in the 150th birthday anniversary of Jose Rizal was finally released, after posing a P12,000 bail, last June 22. The seven activists, five of which were students from UP Los Baños and two from Anakpawis partylist, were nabbed by policemen last Sunday in the commemoration program of the national hero’s birth. The “Calamba 7” expressed their discontent over Aquino, who was present in the event, and his current policies on education which they described as being “anti-people.” In addition, they also lament the issue of land reform which is very prominent in the Southern Tagalog region. CEGP-Cordillera is denouncing the detention of the Calamba 7.
We see no justification in the police’s arrest of the seven activists who were merely staging a protest when they were arrested. On the contrary, we are with the Calamba 7 and believe that they have all the justifications in doing their protest action. First, as citizens of the country, they have the right to freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly. Second, the validity of their grievances only further justifies the protest action and renders their arrest as a malicious action. Ultimately, The Guild sees this case as another blatant violation of human rights in the country. The release of the Calamba 7 does not end the struggle for human rights in this country. The 12,000 bail was even illegitimate because no clear and justified case was charged on the arrestees.
We reecho the irony expressed by other youth organizations regarding this event. Even in the birth anniversary of the national hero who hailed the youth as the hope of the nation, violations and suppression of their right to voice out their concerns to the present administration continue. This only speaks of the true nature of Aquino’s regime. It is a regime that does not recognize the issues and welfare of the youth sector that even goes as far as limiting their participation in national concerns. With this, we are calling on Benigno Aquino to be responsible for this illegal detention and more importantly, start doing something significant to protect the human rights of its citizens.
STOP ILLEGAL DETENTIONS OF YOUTH LEADERS!
UPHOLD HUMAN RIGHTS INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CAMPUS!