Marikina mayor orders release of 10 feeding program volunteers
MANILA, Philippines – Marikina City Mayor Marcy Teodoro on Friday, May 1, ordered the police to release the 10 volunteers of a community kitchen feeding program arrested while serving free meals in the city.
Teodoro said Marikina police "overreacted" when it apprehended Friday morning members of the informal volunteer group Bayanihang Marikenyo at Marikenya, who had just cooked breakfast for a community of jeepney drivers disenfranchised by the current coronavirus lockdown.
The police said they arrested members of the group for allegedly holding a protest because of they carried placards.
Arrested around 9 am Friday were 7 jeepney drivers, two teachers, and one community volunteer with Gabriela.
Teodoro said: “Nag-overreact 'yung PNP, eh. Hindi dapat inaresto dahil wala namang ginagawang masama yung mga kababayan natin.” (The PNP overreacted. They should not be arrested because they were not doing anything wrong.)
“Sinasabihan ko ngayon ang ating kapulisan na wala silang kasong maaring isampa dun sa mga taong ito. (I told the Marikina police that they cannot charge these people.)" he said.
The mayor added that the relief operation strictly observed physical distancing. He also said that what they did was in compliance with the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
Teodoro said that the police may have misinterpreted the act as a protest because they were carrying placards.
He said that since it was Labor Day, the workers have the liberty to express their sentiments
“Maaring may placards silang dala pero May 1 ngayon, eh, bahagi ito ng pag-e-exercise nitong constitutional rights nila na freedom of expression. (They may be carrying placards, but its May 1 today, and that is part of their constitutional right of freedom of expression.)” Teodoro said.
The message on the placards, Teodoro said, called for nationwide free mass testing to stop the spread of COVID-19. This message supported his advocacy for mass testing through the Marikina Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory.
“Pinapahayag lang nila ang pangangailangan para sa free mass testing. Dahil yung mahihirap, ito naman talaga ang hinihingi, yung libreng mass testing. Para sa ganun alam nila kung positive or negative sila sa COVID-19,” the mayor said.
(They were just talking about the need to free mass testing. That is what the poor have been clamoring. They want to know if they are postive for COVID-19.) – Rappler.com