By Joey Natividad
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region – Participating groups in the Tacloban rally Saturday on their way back to Samar were blocked and harassed by state soldiers, reports reached Bicol Today.com Sunday.
The convoy of protesters was blocked at the San Juanico Bridge by soldiers of the 8th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The groups were on their way back to Samar from Tacloban City after joining the Yolanda rally Saturday, November 8, marking the first year observance of typhoon Yolanda which ravaged Tacloban City, Samar and other areas in the Visayas.
The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), one of the participating groups in the Tacloban rally condemned the harassments by Army soldiers.
“This is a direct blow to Yolanda victims demanding justice for the criminal negligence of the Aquino administration to Yolanda-stricken areas in the Visayas. The Guild expresses its disgust over this violation to the rights of the people to free expression,” said Ian Harvey Claros, CEGP Executive Vice President who was in Tacloban City, together with other youth leaders.
“A year has passed but the clamor of the people of Eastern Visayas and other Yolanda-devastated areas in the country for justice and aid for rehabilitation have been ignored by President Noynoy Aquino. He even avoided the anger of the people gathered in Tacloban City. Instead, Aquino and DILG Sec. Mar Roxas went to Guiuan, Eastern Samar where they threw candies to the residents as if they were campaigning,” said Marc Lino Abila, CEGP National President.
“CEGP holds AFP and President Aquino liable for violating the rights of the victims of Yolanda. We also hold Aquino responsible for intensifying Oplan Bayanihan and human rights violations in Eastern Visayas and rural areas across the Philippines. We demand pulling out of government troops out of disaster areas as they only aggravate the situation instead of helping alleviate the problems,” said Claros. [BicolToday.com]