Group slams arrest of urban poor leader

PROGRESSIVE urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap slams the arrest of Maritess Bacolod, a leader of Samahan ng Maralitang Nagkakaisa-Corazon de Jesus, a local organization of Kadamay in San Juan City, a day before the visit of President Aquino for a Bonifacio Day celebration in adjacent Pinaglaban Shrine.

San Juan police arrested Bacolod for a case of civil disobedience in the evening of November 29. Other urban poor and youth leaders from Corazon De Jesus who were at the forefront of the barricade against the demolition of homes in the said community last January 11 are also included in the case.

According to Carlito Badion, national secretary-general of Kadamay, the arrest was done to prevent an expected protest of residents on the visit of Aquino at the Pinaglabanan Shrine yesterday.

The leader added, “The Aquino administration is doing everything to kill our freedom of expression, the same way his demolition rampage in our communities has extra-judicially killed at least 11 urban poor leaders and individuals, illegally arrested scores and injured hundreds of urban poor.”

In September, Aquino’s visit in Bantayog ng mga Bayani for a Martial Law Commemoration was also faced by a group of urban poor settlers from North Triangle who protested against the unabated demolition in urban poor communities. Eviction from their homes and sources of livelihood is among the worst forms of human right violations under the Aquino administration, according to Kadamay, to give way to different Public-Private Partnership projects which only benefit big businesses.

As of press time, Bacolod was still detained at the San Juan City Police Station. Her group who has prepared to post bail for Bacolod has to wait until Monday for the release of their leader.

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