AFP harasses youth leaders in Cavite and Negros Occidental

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Youth groups and human rights defenders in Cavite and Negros Occidental condemned state forces for harassing and surveilling two youth leaders in said provinces. The two are baselessly accused of being linked to the armed revolutionary movement.

The Karapatan-Cavite report said National Task Force (NTF)-Elcac agents went to the house of Paolo Tarra, student at De la Salle University-Dasmariñas (DLSU-D) and human rights defender in the province, last May 3 in Trece Martires City. NTF-Elcac agents “talked” to Tarra’s parents and showed them pictures of Tarra participating in mass actions.

The military agents also forcefully insisted on talking to Tarra personally on the pretext that they fear the student leader would “join the revolution.” They even threatened returning to the family to talk to them again and force them to sign some documents.

The Tarra family was first harassed and intimidated in February when military agents posing as “reservists” came. The report said they forcefully interrogated Tarra’s parents of his personal information and private documents such as birth certificate, photographs, diploma and others.

Tarra is currently the coordinator of the Coalition of Concerned Lasallians (CCL) at DLSU-D. He is one of the leaders in the campaigns for the democratic rights and well-being of university students. “At the young age of 20, he consciously and actively contributes to promoting the human rights of the people of Cavite and other parts of the Southern Tagalog region,” Karapatan-Cavite said.

In Negros Occidental, state forces also harassed and intimidated the family of Florence Guzon, Kabataan Partylist general secretary in Negros Island, on April 25 at their residence in Talisay City. Reports said state agents illegally sought personal information from his mother. They also interrogated about his whereabouts and activities.

“Furthermore, state forces red-tagged Guzon and claimed as having ties with the New People’s Army (NPA), an accusation that is both false and baseless,” Kabataan Partylist-Negros said. The soldiers even entered Guzon’s room and searched his personal belongings.

“These actions by state forces clearly violate Guzon’s constitutional rights. It also caused a lot of anxiety, not only to him, but also to his family,” according to the group.

Aside from leading the island’s Kabataan Partylist, Guzon is also a prominent student leader and campus journalist at Carlos Hilado Memorial State University.

The harassment, intimidation and Red-tagging of the two youth leaders is a clear violation of a Supreme Court decision on July 4, 2023. According to the decision only made public on May 8, the Red-tagging or the malicious association of a civilian in the armed movement, is a threat to the life, liberty and security of the target victims. The decision is related to the dismissed petition for writ of amparo by Siegfred Deduro, former representative of the Bayan Muna Party-list.

AB: AFP harasses youth leaders in Cavite and Negros Occidental