Cebu police arrest 7 anti-terror bill protesters, trap scores in UP Cebu

Ratziel San Juan - Philstar.com
Cebu police arrest 7 anti-terror bill protesters, trap scores in UP Cebu
Protesters against the anti-terror bill arrested during a rally at UP Cebu Friday. Police said mass gatherings are not allowed during the GCQ, and only persons allowed outdoors are covered by the quarantine pass.
The Freeman / Aldo Banaynal

MANILA, Philippines — Cebu police officers on Friday forcibly entered the University of the Philippines Cebu grounds, despite existing protocols, to arrest at least seven protesters — including two students — who had been staging a rally with scores of other locals against the controversial anti-terrorism bill.

RELATED: ‘Anti-terror’ bill defines terrorism vaguely but has clear and specific dangers

The deputy director for administration of the Cebu City Police Office, Police Lieutenant Colonel Melbert Esguerra, told local media that the protesters were apprehended for violating the ban on mass gatherings under the general community quarantine.

"They are basically endangering the people of Cebu because,we are in a pandemic situation," PRO-7 Director Ignatius Ferro said.

The arrested students are Bern Cañedo of UP Cebu University Student Council and Nar Athena Mae Porlas of Anakbayan UP Cebu.

Together with them at the local police headquarters at Camp Sotero Cabahug, a kilometer away from UP Cebu, are UP alumnus Al Ingking, Joahanna Veloso of the National Union of Students of the Philippines, Jaime Paglinawan of BAYAN Central Visayas, Dyan Paula Gumanao of Kabataan Partylist Cebu and Janry Ubal of Food Not Bombs Cebu.

The UP Office of the Student Regent has since called for the safe and immediate release of the arrested individuals.

Authorities clad in full gear and riot shields were caught on footage posted on social media chasing students in the UP Cebu campus.

Reports of students trapped in school grounds, apparently threatened by police officers of arrest, are also circulating on social media.

Under the 1989 agreement between the UP and the Department of National Defense, police and military presence in any of the state university's campuses is prohibited unless authorized by the UP administration.

Members of the army and police, as well as the military auxiliary Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit, "shall not interfere with peaceful protest actions by UP constituents within UP premises... The service of search or arrest warrants on any UP student, faculty, employee, or invited participants in any official UP activity shall, as far as practicable, be done after prior notification is given the UP President, or Chancellor of the constituent university, or Dean of the regional unit concerned, or their respective officers-in-charge in the event of their absence.”




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