The Quezon City police District (QCPD) yesterday allegedly threatened to close down the community kitchens in the village of San Roque for supposedly violating the Luzon-wide lockdown.
Save San Roque, a non-profit group that helps the village cope during the lockdown, alleged that the police had swooped by two areas where the kitchens were set up. They also alleged that the cops took down and tore out protest signs which asked for the government to aid the unemployed residents.
“According to the police who stormed in, this was ordered by the [police] station commander,” Save San Roque said. Its community leader Estrelita Bagasbas told Bulatlat “They threatened to stop our community kitchen if we will continue with the protests and placards.”
An officer at QCPD Station 2 who refused to be named told Coconuts Manila over the phone today that someone informed them that a protest was being held in the village, which was why members of the police were deployed to the area. Under the enhanced quarantine rules, public gatherings like protests are not allowed.
“But upon arriving, they saw that there was no protest. It was a feeding program,” the officer said. “There was no raid.”
Bagasbas, who characterized the police visit as a form of harassment said the community kitchen continued its operations after police left, which served pancit and fried fish to residents.
QCPD Director Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo said in yesterday’s statement that the police arrived to have a “dialogue” with the residents.
“After a dialogue with the group of [San Roque Community leader Estrelita] Bagasbas, the QCPD requested them to remove their protest placards which they voluntarily submitted to and reminded them to observe social or physical distancing,” Montejo said.
UPDATE: Bandang 10am dumating ang mga kapulisan sa dalawang area na may Kusinang Bayan at umalis din matapos ang halos…
The “dialogue” comes just a few days after the QCPD arrested 21 San Roque residents for staging a protest, to demand food that was supposed to be handed out by the local government.
Known on social media as the “San Roque 21,” the residents spent the weekend in jail and were released after posting bail yesterday. Public figures like actress Sharon Cuneta had pitched in to raise the protesters’ bail, which amounted to PHP315,000 (US$6,215).
Save San Roque thanked the people involved in freeing the 21 residents and said that “real camaraderie exists in the sympathy and collective action of everyone.”
This article, Quezon city police allegedly threatens to close down kitchen in San Roque for violating Luzon lockdown, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!