Youth Human Rights defenders on auto target by military-fascist junta

According to Kabataan Para Sa Karapatan, Wilmar Pognasi (Negros Oriental convener), Habal Habal Drivers, and peasant organizers were arrested and detained by elements of the Philippine Army around 7:00 PM at a checkpoint in Alingasaw, Moises Padilla. The detained human rights advocates were just on their way to study the situation of farmers and peasants in said area. The organization confirmed that the youths were not carrying any kind of dangerous weapon and only brought with them legal documents; whereas the police officers denied and alleged the contrary.

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines condemns these kinds of attacks towards the youth activists and human rights advocates. This only strongly negates the statement of pro-government officials that the AFP and PNP are allies — with these kinds of exemplification, they are clearly threats to the people’s right to dissent, critic, and fight for peasants and indigenous groups. They, who ought to enforce the law, are the first to commit human rights transgressions.

If these military officials think that placing handcuffs on the hands of people is a hobby, then they do not deserve to be called the “protector of people.” Activists are never terrorists; their critical thinking and commitment to serve the underprivileged sector should be supported by the government. These are people who are willing to go through lengths of hardship just to do something good for the community and nation and yet, they are placed in the middle of a target range by military people.

With this, the Guild strongly calls for the release of Wilmar Pognasi and the other human rights advocates who are with him. We need protection and help, not jail time and handcuffs! If the government and military truly care for the people, they should know how to sort out actions in a way that would serve the best interest of the Filipinos.

Photo courtesy to NNARA-Youth

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