Student group condemns escalating attacks on activists

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Union leader Antonieta Setias-Dizon. PHOTO BY BOY BAGWIS via PinoyWeekly
Union leader Antonieta Setias-Dizon. PHOTO BY BOY BAGWIS via PinoyWeekly

MANILA, 19July2015 — The student group League of Filipino Students (LFS) chided the Aquino government, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Saturday for perpetrating the series of harassment against unionists and activists.

Members of the LFS, public sector union COURAGE, and other progressive groups have been holding a vigil at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) National Office in Ortigas since July 14 where union leader Antonieta Setias-Dizon sought refuge. Setias-Dizon has experienced a series of harassment and intimidation from state agents, including being tailed by intelligence vehicles.

“We condemn the Aquino government for masterminding the systematic attacks against activists and union leaders. Despite the fact that we have filed writ of habeas data and writ of amparo, political repression is continuing for weeks without let-up,” said LFS national spokesperson Charisse Bañez.

The IBP, COURAGE and Setias-Dizon held a press conference on July 16 to condemn the successive attacks against union leaders and urge the public to join their campaign against the heightening political repression under the Aquino government.

LFS cited incidents where two suspected elements of the military were seen taking photos of their headquarters in Manila. A man who introduced himself as a military agent also visited the headquarters of Kabataan Partylist in a blatant attempt to harass their members.

The youth group also recounted recent incidences of brazen harassment from suspected military and police agents at the IBP office. On the afternoon of July 17, two vehicles were marked as highly suspicious as observed by members of COURAGE and other organizations who have been holding vigil at IBP.

A white Mitsubishi Montero Sport with plate number WOZ 387 passed by the IBP building eleven (11) times. The look-outs noted that the driver had been taking details of the people and the building using a camera.

Another vehicle, a black Starex van with plate number NDQ 961 have also been making rounds. The said vehicle also dropped off and picked up several suspicious looking men at a nearby 24/7 convenient store. One of the men even entered the IBP driveway and took note of the plate numbers of vehicles parked inside. When several look-outs approached him, he pretended to be lost, walked away and was eventually seen boarding the black Starex van.

Also, members of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) -Malabon who held vigil in the IBP building also experienced harassment. Upon leaving the premises of IBP at around 7pm on Friday, they noticed that a silver Starex van with plate WSU 936 was tailing the jeepney they were boarding. The van also hustled their jeepney along EDSA near Trinoma. They were able to shake-off the van at Monumento.

LFS stressed that as his final State of the Nation Address approaches, Aquino is becoming more desperate to silence his critics in hopes of escaping accountability on his countless crimes to the Filipino people.

“The youth and the people must condemn the growing climate of political repression under the Aquino regime. Aquino’s last SONA will be drowned by our clamor to oust him and his party from power and make him accountable for his long list of crimes,” ended Bañez. [BicolToday.com]

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