It was wrong

VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez (The Freeman) - June 6, 2020 - 12:00am

I was assigned to cover what was supposedly a peaceful rally in front of my alma mater, the University of the Philippines Cebu when authorities suddenly showed up to disperse the crowd. It became chaotic when the protesters refused to adhere to the mandate to stop the rally. Those protesting wanted to block the passage of the anti-terror bill, something that would affect them greatly.

Right there before my own eyes, members of the police force, wearing civilian clothes jumped over the fence of UP Cebu to chase the protesters who wanted to seek refuge inside the campus. They were like bandits, too quick to move with garments wrapped around their head to conceal their identity. They came back victorious on their end bringing the chairman of Bayan Cebu, Jaime Paglinawan. The old man who was the leader of these progressive groups since I was a little girl was struggling and screaming, “Unsa man akong sala (What is my fault)?” He kept on asking, but nobody answered him.

All seven of them were brought to the Cebu City Police Office. But as they sat there on the hallway benches, nobody approached them or even took time to get their names. It was very shady, and I felt sorry that this had to happen. Back in college, we were encouraged to air out our sentiments especially if we feel like we have been aggrieved. It has been our practice to keep on siding with the things that we feel and know is right. A protest does not equate to going against the government, it is simply pointing out the wrong in the system.

What went wrong that day? Well, for one, police officers are not allowed entry to any UP campus. It is understood that an agreement way before was made, that only those police personnel with authority from the school would be given entry. If not, then no, because it is prone to harassment. Why do the government officials love to harass people who just want to air out their sentiments? While those who are also violating the law but are in high positions can easily get away with anything they do in their life. Sounds unfair right, but that is how it is.

I feel so sorry for the seven individuals who are mostly my friends at that, because they are human too and they deserve the proper course of action if they are to be held accountable for their actions. It’s time we see the truth of the anti-terrorism bill. We could all be witnesses that this bill isn’t what we need at this time. We need concrete steps to survive this pandemic.

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