STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT for the release of Ariel Casilao and relief volunteers

From the ASIAN PEASANT COALITION

“Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) strongly condemns the extra-judicial arrest, arbitrary detention and accompanied harassment and intimidation of relief volunteers of Sagip Kanayunan (Rescue Countryside) and Tulong Anakpawis (Help the Toiling Masses). It needs to be emphasized the highly militarist approach of the Philippine President Duarte in implementing the quarantine and lockdown measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is extremely reprehensible that the Armed Forces of the Philippine has undertaken martial law-like measures in implementing the Enhanced Community Quarantine policy. There has been consistent concern from the international community on the human rights violations and brutality shown by the Philippine administration for restricting movement during the Covid-19.

APC, on behalf of its Philippines member Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) demands the immediate unconditional release of the volunteers of the joint drive of Sagip Kanayunan and Tulong Anakpawis.”

From the Coalition of Cambodia Farmers Community

“CCFC, a member organization of the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS), condemns
the militarist approach of the Duterte government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We
denounce the Duterte government’s persecution of peasant organizations and its advocates to the
extent of criminalizing volunteerism and humanitarian intervention. We stand in solidarity with the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and strongly support their call for the immediate release of seven relief volunteers.

From the Youth for Food Sovereignty

“The arrest and criminalization carried out by the Duterte government shows how in the midst of the failure to handle the crisis due to COVID-19, violations of people’s rights continue to occur. Besides that what is dangerous is how humanitarian work and services to the people are not in a safe condition due to criminalization that is so easily carried out by the state. The Duterte government should focus on providing protection for social services and guarantees for the rights of the people rather than carrying out various anti-democratic actions and even against social services and humanitarian work.

We of the youth alliance for food sovereignty (YFS) condemned the arrest and criminalization carried out by the Philippine government against popular activists. In addition, we also demand that all activists arrested for carrying out humanitarian work and solidarity with public services be released immediately.

In addition, YFS also requested that the people be prioritized in handling COVID-19 outbreaks, both by providing mass health service guarantees as well as economic and social security in the midst of the outbreak.

YFS also congratulates all activists, especially volunteers and medical workers who continue to carry out various humanitarian works with courage.”

From ROOTS FOR EQUITY

“Roots for Equity strongly condemns the illegal arrest and harassment of seven volunteers who were part of relief efforts to peasants and urban-poor households during the Covid-19 lockdown in the Philippines. This is particularly reprehensible given the extreme vulnerability of the workers and peasants in the face of twin risks to health and livelihood that accompanies Covid-19. Instead of lauding the work of volunteers who at the risk of their own health are working to bring relief to the hunger faced by thousands who are unable to earn even the meager amounts that were their lot under imperialist policies.”

From the NORMAN BETHUNE BRIGADE

“Norman Bethune Brigade strongly condems the arrest of Sagip Kanayunan volunteers by PNP Bulacan last April 19, 2020 at Norzagaray, Bulacan.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, environmental defenders still experience harassments from the hands of the authorities. Relief operations are labeled as an act of terrorism and volunteers of Sagip Kanayunan and Anakpawis are red-tagged by the police. If organizing relief drives in times of crisis are treated by the authorities as such, how can we even define what a crime is?

We challenge our government to free the volunteers from charges filed by the Norzagaray Police, more so, the administration to do its duty to the people by providing the needs of every citizens in challenging times like this.” #FreeSagipKanayunanVolunteers#TulongHindiKulong

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