OFW group condemns raid of relief center in Iloilo

Migrante Partylist condemned in strongest terms the illegal raid of the Panay Center for Disaster Response (PCDR) relief center in Iloilo by unidentified men believed to be military elements.

Three masked men raided the PCDR office last June 19. Three people, including staff and volunteers of the center, were handcuffed, manhandled and their faces were covered with packaging tape. The men stole laptops, USBs, printed documents, hard drives, cellphones and cameras.

The PCDR is an affiliate of Sagip Migrante, the relief arm of Migrante Partylist and Migrante International. The PCDR was instrumental in coordinating and facilitating Sagip Migrante’s post-Yolanda relief efforts in Iloilo and Capiz.

“This is political harassment, pure and simple. We have every reason to believe that state perpetrators are responsible, and that the raid was done as part of the Aquino administration’s Oplan Bayanihan,” Bragas-Regalado said.

Oplan Bayanihan, she said, has been targetting even relief and humanitarian efforts of progressive and activist organizations. “This incident is no different from the death squads, illegal arrests and militarization launched by the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) on indigenous peoples and peasant communities who are at the receiving end of relief efforts, on the belief that they are strongholds of the New People’s Army (NPA).”

“This is simply unforgivable and cause for outrage for the whole international community. The perpetrators should be punished. Shame on the Aquino government for targetting the very people who have selflessly offered their efforts to compensate for government inaction and criminal negligence of the victims and survivors of typhoon Yolanda. We call on all Filipinos all over the world to condemn this human rights violation and act of state terror,” Bragas-Regalado said.

Bragas-Regalado said that overseas Filipinos worldwide shall hold the Aquino government responsible should anything untoward happen to the staff and volunteers of the PCDR and other progressive relief centers and organizations. ###