Youth rally on Earth Day in SM Calamba faced violent dispersal; Protesters slam Henry Sy for ‘corporate greed’, Aquino for ‘noynoying’ on envi issues


Around 25 youth who staged lightning rally in front of SM Calamba on Earth Day against ‘corporate greed’ of Henry Sy were violently dispersed – women were beaten, a student was injured and equipment of the local press covering the event was also confiscated – by some 15 SM security forces and a couple of Calamba traffic officers.

“These security forces are so vicious,” Carla Bertulfo, member of Kabataan Partylist-Southern Tagalog said in teary eyes. “Sinikmuraan kami (hit on the torso), and they shouted on us ‘putang ina niyo!’” she continued.

At around 2 p.m. the youth groups Anakbayan-Southern Tagalog, League of Filipino Students-UPLB and Kabataan Partylist-Southern Tagalog assembled in front of SM Calamba. Meanwhile, combined elements of Calamba Public Ordinance and Safety Officers and SM security forces immediately encircled around the protesters, who are shouting “Dagdagan ang puno, huwag ang tubo!” and “SM at Henry Sy, salot!”

Another three men in civilian attire allegedly included among the SM security forces repeatedly grabbed the camera used by local media men covering the event.

Soon after the dispersal, the protesters held their program along the national road in front of SM Calamba. While Bertulfo delivers her speech, the same security forces and traffic officers pushed the protesters toward the other end of the road and confiscated their flags, streamers and placards. One flag bearer was hit on the toes by a security force causing the former light injuries.

“Earth Day is a day of protest for the youth. We cannot let the likes of Henry Sy who are driven with corporate greed destroy our rich natural resources,” Bertulfo said, emphasizing the recent tree balling that occurred in Baguio City and land-use conversion in Nasugbu, Batangas. Bertulfo, a BS Biology graduate in UP Los Banos revealed the conversion of about 8,000-hectare Hacienda Looc in Batangas into private resorts, club houses, sea ports and golf course.

Meanwhile, Bertulfo expressed her dissatisfaction towards the Aquino government’s “lack of appropriate action” on the glaring environmental destruction. “As usual, Mr. Aquino is ‘noynoying’ on this day. Instead of upholding national patrimony and environmental protection, he turned a blind eye on the potential coral reef destruction in Palawan due to Balikatan exercises’ plans to have live ammunitions underwater,” she said.

The group was able to retrieve their protest materials, including the local press camera. They transferred to the City Terminal where they hold another peaceful program.

“We are resolved to bring the issue of environmental destruction to a widespread protest. This is the beginning of our series of protest actions that will culminate on May 1, as we celebrate international Labor Day,” Bertulfo ended. ###

For further details, please contact Christina Madeja at 09058915908 or visit http://www.anakbayanuplb.wordpress.com



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