A TOTAL of 14 members of cause-oriented groups were arrested by police while on their way to downtown Cebu City for their annual protest rally on Labor Day, May 1, 2021.
Members of the Nagkahiusang Kabus sa Lapu-Lapu and Kadamay Cebu were on board a black van-for-hire and were headed towards their rally venue when they were stopped by a police checkpoint on Gen. Maxilum Ave.
According to Maj. Armando Labora, chief of the Abellana Police Station, the black van was carrying 14 passengers.
The allowable maximum number of passengers for van-type vehicles is only 10 persons, as prescribed in the Cebu City ordinance mandating quarantine rules during modified general community quarantine.
Local police ordered the passengers of the van, who were identified as protesters, to disembark. They were turned over to the City’s Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement (Probe), which the City had tasked to enforce penalties against quarantine violators.
Labora said despite confirming that those inside the vehicle were members of cause-oriented groups, they had no intention to prevent them from conducting their activities.
Labora said the police even allowed members of cause-oriented groups to march from Fuente Osmeña to Colon St. then to Plaza Independencia as part of their Labor Day activities.
His personnel reported that the protest rallies were peaceful and most of the rallyists eventually went home after.
Labora said around 150 to 200 rallyists were monitored by the police to have attended the Labor Day protests on Saturday.
Sought for comment, Jaime Paglinawan, chairman of the Alyansa sa mga Mamumuo sa Sugbo-Kilusang Mayo Uno (AMA Sugbo KMU), said what happened to the 14 protestors was an act of harassment.
He said based on their initial information, the 14 apprehended individuals were on board a bus when they were stopped along Gen. Maxilom Ave. and then brought to a multipurpose gym on F. Ramos St.
He said they are now coordinating with their legal counsel so that the 14 could be released from detention.
Several cause-oriented groups including the AMA Sugbo KMU, Piston Cebu, Anakbayan, Kilusang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas Cebu and Panaghugpong Kadamay, staged a unified Labor Day rally from Fuente Osmeña to Gaisano South then to the University of the Visayas before converging on Colon.
The groups were calling for free mass testing for coronavirus disease 2019, additional financial assistance, including the rights to form a union, regularization and the junking of the Anti-Terror Law. (AYB, WBS / JKV)