CEGP-Southern Tagalog’s statement on the December 7 dispersal

Reference: Estel Lenwij J. Estropia
CEGP-ST Chairperson

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines Southern Tagalog Chapter condemns in the strongest possible sense of the word the brutal dispersal and arrest of protesters during a standoff at Bustillos Street today.

We demand the immediate release of Rodel Valenzuela Jr., writer of the PUP Catalyst and member of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines. We also call for the immediate release of Jed Aquino, Secretary General of Kabataang Artista para sa Tunay na Kalayaan, Nathaniel Aguilar and Karl Michael Nadunza of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), and Willy Marbela of Anak Pawis.

Police brutality indeed marked the incident as the dispersal ended with such inhumane arrest and treatment of the protesters. Valenzuela is of minor age and should therefore not be involved in the arrest in any case. Aguilar and Nadunza, on the other hand, were severely injured during the dispersal. Aside from the arrested, there are still an indeterminate number of injured as of press time. These include the case of RG Tesa, Secretary General of Stand UP who was brought to the hospital due to severe injuries and Lloyd Magsoy who is still missing.

The Mendiola camp out was launched yesterday, December 6, as a unity movement to change a “social system that produces immense wealth for foreign interests and a few as the people, who toil all their lives, are increasingly pushed deeper into hunger, poverty and injustice”. Among the most prominent issues addressed in the camp out are the budget cuts for education and other social services and human rights violations.

Yesterday’s attempt to camp out at Mendiola was also blocked by 200 elements of the Manila Police District. After a three-hour standoff, the protesters were dispersed with water cannons.

We call on our member publications and challenge all human rights advocates to condemn the brutality showcased in the said dispersal and hold the Aquino administration accountable through statements and other condemnation activities. ###