Candelaria, Zambales Police curtails freedom of locals, detains nine activists
Candelaria, Zambales – Days after the commemoration of EDSA People Power, local police harassed locals and accused them of illegal assembly on Monday morning. The police forced the people out of the way to allow the passage of trucks used by Benguet Nickel Mines Inc. (BNMI) towards the port in Brgy. Binabalian were the ores would be transported to China.
Many people were hurt and nine (9) were detained. Currently detained at the Candelaria Police Station are Marlo Murciano, Elmer Manamtam, Cristhene Manamtam, Bitoy Ednalan, Roy Edejer, Baba Edejer, Jojo Excio, Charm Jad Barrera with three others.
Doc Ben Molino, chairperson of the Concerned Citizens of Sta Cruz (CCOS) said: “The case of illegal assembly against Charm Jad Barrera and the group contravenes with our freedom of assembly. The people are still in shock after their experience with the police who harassed them instead of acting on their mandate to protect the people.”
The people of Brgy. Uacon were peacefully guarding their barricade when the incident happened. The barricade was set up Feb 28 to stop the operations of four large-scale mining firms in nearby Sta. Cruz. Candelaria and Sta Cruz were heavily flooded in October because of the impacts of logging and mining operations of BNMI, Eramen Minerals, Inc. (EMI), LnL Archipelagic Minerals, Inc. (LAMI), and Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation/DMCI. A barricade in Brgy. Bayto, Sta. Cruz is in place to stop the hauling of ZMDC/DMCI.
“This is clearly an abuse of power the government officials who instead of serving the people are providing assistance to the mining companies. We demand the release of the detainees and the peoples barricade be respected!” Molino concluded.
The police also confiscated the campaign materials and other equipment of the locals manning the barricade.
Video taken on Feb 29, grabbed from Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marissa.pulido.92/videos/vb.100010244880003/222064788145016/?type=2&theater
For more information, contact: Doc Ben Molino, CCOS Chairperson, 0916.372.71.84 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
March 1, 2016
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