'Conducting dialogue': Cops raid San Roque community kitchens, tear protest materials
Quezon City police officers arrived at the Kusinang Bayan program at Sitio San Roque to tear props and materials calling for government assistance, according to Save San Roque.
Save San Roque
'Conducting dialogue': Cops raid San Roque community kitchens, tear protest materials
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - April 6, 2020 - 4:49pm

MANILA, Philippines — Quezon City Police District (QCPD) personnel were deployed Monday morning to Sitio San Roque in Barangay Bagong Pag-asa in Quezon City, the police district's public information office confirmed. 

In a press statement sent to reporters, QCPD Director Police Brigadier General Ronnie Montejo said that protests were in violation of social distancing measures.

The QCPD said in its statements that the purpose of their deployment on Monday was to establish dialogue with members of urban poor group Kadamay over supposed violations of the quarantine.

Mass gatherings are prohibited by virtue of the enhanced community quarantine imposed over mainland Luzon. 

In a series of tweets, urban poor alliance Save San Roque for their part said that over fifteen police operatives raided community kitchens—which QCPD said were set up by Kadamay—for Sitio San Roque residents and tore down protest materials. 

READ: Kadamay unfairly blamed for Sitio San Roque protest, group and supporters say

"After a dialogue with the group of Bagaspas, the QCPD requested them to remove their protest placards which they voluntarily submitted to and reminded them to observe social or physical distancing," the QCPD statement read. 

READ: Duterte warns groups disrupting quarantine

PNP chief Police General Archie Gamboa has warned the public of "firm and decisive police action" against those found to be involved in "illegal mass actions."

Even the chief executive himself has echoed similar sentiments, going as far as issuing an order to the national police and the armed forces to "shoot dead" violators of the quarantine who put their lives in jeopardy. 

In a separate interview with CNN Philippines, Interior spokesperson Jonathan Malaya accused the group of being a front for communist rebels anew. 

While protesting the lack of food and financial aid from the government, 21 members of the urban poor community were arrested last week after a spontaneous protest was dispersed by the QCPD.

At the time, the rallyists were reportedly calling, "Pagkain kailangan namin wala kami natatanggap mula kay Mayora at Kapitan." (We need food, we don't receive any from the mayor and the captain.)

Athough mass gatherings, including protests, are banned while Luzon is on community quarantine, protesting, expressing dissent, or being a member of an activist group is not the same thing as being a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines or of the New People's Army. 

In an earlier text message to Philstar.com, Kadamay Chairperson Gloria Arellano said in Filipino, "Food, medical and social services, and rights are what we were calling for, 'bigas hindi rehas' (rice not railings)."

"Why is it always us being threatened by Duterte? He should ease the transfer of social services instead."

READ: 20 arrested at protest in Quezon City during quarantine

"The lack of urgent and sustained relief from the national government is forcing the urban poor to go out and look for food or for a source of livelihood," Nanoy Rafael of Save San Roque told Philstar.com in an earlier exchange. 

"That's why meeting them with violence and arrests was not right."

Philstar.com sought comment from the Office of Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte but her chief of staff, Weng Macatao, has yet to respond as of this post.

Disclosure: Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is a shareholder of Philstar Global Corp., which operates digital news outlet Philstar.com. This article was produced following editorial guidelines. 

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 29, 2020 - 7:51pm

Photo shows members of the Philippine National Police deployed in Manila amid COVID-19 threat. The STAR/Edd Gumban

President Rodrigo Duterte on March 16, 2020 declares an enhanced community quarantine over all of mainland Luzon, an expansion of an earlier general community quarantine over the National Capital Region.

The entire National Capital Region—16 cities and a municipality—is under community quarantine from March 15 to April 14, which means the enforcement of social distancing measures like letting fewer people on public transportation, reduced store hours, and the possibiity of curfews.

According to a memorandum issued by the Palace on Saturday, March 14, the quarantine means that "movement of people shall be limited to accessing basic necessities and work; and uniformed personnel and quarantine officers shall be present at border points."

Travel restrictions in and out of the capital will also be implemented.

April 29, 2020 - 7:51pm

Batangas, one of the provinces hardest hit by the novel coronavirus, has reported no new cases of the disease for two consecutive days.

The provincial DOH Office says the number of COVID-19 cases in the province stood at 91 with no new cases as of Wednesday afternoon.

Lipa City has the most cases with 26, followed by Batangas City (21) and Nasugbu (11).

Tanauan City has the fourth most cases with eight, followed by Bauan (5) and Alitagtag (3). Cuenca and Sto. Tomas City had two cases each, while the municipalities of Calaca, Lemery, Lian, Lobo, Mabini, Mataas na Kahoy, Padre Garcia, San Jose, San Juan, San Pascual and Taal had one case each, respectively. — The Filipino Connection

April 29, 2020 - 5:39pm

Quezon City's Task Force Disiplina has been instructed to withdraw its complaint against Michael Rubuia whom city "enforcers" were caught on video beating with sticks over alleged quarantine violations.

The QC government says in the same statement that the enforcers of Task Force Disiplina have been issued show-cause orders for their actions. They may also be put on preventive suspension.

It also says Ruguia will be released to the city's drug rehabilitation center "in view of his positive drug test."

A police report on the April 27 incident did not mention the beating by task force personnel nor that he Ruguia had tested positive for drugs.

More on that incident here: QC to investigate 'local authorities' caught on video beating man lacking face mask

April 28, 2020 - 10:26pm

A 72-year-old Person Deprived of Liberty at the Correctional Institution for Women-Mandaluyong who had tested positive for COVID-19 died on Monday, the Bureau of Corrections says Tuesday.

She was the first confirmed COVID-19 case at the correctional facility and had been hospitalized on April 13 "after experiencing pneumonia symptoms," BuCor says.

"It can be recalled that her admission to the hospital triggered the contact tracing and isolation of those PDL that had contact with her days before she was brought to the hospital," BuCor also says.

Of 130 PDLs tested, 47 have been confirmed to have COVID-19.

A CIW PDL who had been admitted to East Avenue Medical Center on April 13 and who died on April 21 has also been confirmed to have had COVID-19. The results of the test, done on April 14, were only released on Monday.

April 27, 2020 - 2:59pm

Two new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported in Lipa City on Monday even as the total recoveries jumped to five out of the 26 confirmed cases so far, the Lipa City government said.

Mayor Eric Africa announced that two male patients, ages 78 and 27 years old, tested positive for the virus, raising the city’s total infections to 26 – the most in Batangas province. The Filipino Connection

April 26, 2020 - 3:10pm

Community farms could be a "short cut" to meeting the country's food needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Caritas Philippines says, citing community farming projects that the Catholic Church in the Philippines is helping.

"The social amelioration program is not efficiently solving our food security problem however we see it as a necessary short-cut solution," Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national director of Caritas Philippines says

"Thus we at NASSA/Caritas Philippines strongly urge our government, especially the Department of Agriculture to start mobilizing farmers at the community level while we still have time."

The Department of Agriculture has said urban and community farming is among its strategies toward food security during the pandemic.

Bagaforo says "our community farms are helping deliver fresh vegetables to families severely affected by work suspension in Iligan, Bayombong and Camarines Sur, while a local farmers' cooperative supported by the diocese of Libmanan in Camarines Norte and the Gratia Plena program of the Diocese of San Jose in Nueva Ecija are supplying thousands of sacks of commercial and organic rice to Luzon provinces."

Backyard gardening programs in Iloilo, Bukidnon, Quezon, Leyte, the Samar provinces, Capiz, Oriental Mindoro and Zambales have also helped ensure food security for farming families, he says.

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