[Statement] We condemn the arrest of Cebuano Film-writer and Business owner Bambi Beltran! -MAT

April 19, 2020

We condemn the arrest of Cebuano Film-writer and Business owner Bambi Beltran!

As of 12:30 today, April 19, Ms. Maria Victoria Beltran better known by many as Ms. Bambi was arrested and currently detained at the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 for supposedly violating the provision of the Bayanihan to Heal as One-Act. There are still no charges filed against her.

The supposed violation was based on Ms. Beltran’s Facebook post about the situation of Sitio Zapatera in Brgy. Luz which was labeled by Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella as “Fake News”. The Bayanihan act has a provision that prohibits the spread of false information pertaining to the CoVid-19 situation.

The Movement Against Tyranny Cebu denounces the action of the Cebu City government and the Philippine National Police as a misguided approach in addressing the problems posed by the pandemic.

Beltran’s post was in response to the vague proclamations made by the Cebu City Government and the DOH stating that the entire sitio is considered to be contaminated and infected. Without any categorical explanation about what it meant and no further discussion on the implications and further plans, such proclamation is subject to various take by the public. The City Government and the DOH failed to provide the public with clear and reliable information. It only posed fear upon the Cebuano citizens most especially those who are in Brgy. Luz.

Miss Beltran’s post was also satirical of such vague information shared by these responsible government offices and was not presented as a news claim. Instead of persecuting Miss Beltran and those who “mistook” the DOH’s and City Government’s statements, it could have been an opportunity for your accountable office to clarify the matter. While a lot of Cebuanos, Especially the residents of Sitio Zapatera, are in worsening socio-economic conditions and the constant threat of the pandemic, all efforts of the national and local government must be in improving its medical capacity and social amelioration.

The movement also denounces the use of this “Anti- Fake news” provision of the Bayanihan Act by the National and Local Government to persecute common citizens and critiques while they turn a blind eye on Government institutions and personalities peddling false information about the pandemic such as the PTV news and Teddy Boy Locsin.

This brand of leadership is not what we need right now. What we need is an efficient government willing and able to address the medical and socio-economic needs of its constituents, not a leviathan very eager to maintain its posture to the extent of persecuting ordinary citizens.

With this, we reiterate the call for the release of Ms. Beltran and call upon the Cebu City Government to be less reactive on the situation and redirect all its resources and energy to trace, contain, and treat the virus to end this Pandemic.


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