Six volunteers, led by former Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, who were carrying with them relief goods were detained yesterday after their jeepney was blocked at a Norzagaray, Bulacan checkpoint.

In its Facebook post, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said “Six volunteers including the driver of the jeepney carrying relief goods were brought to the police station,” it added, “A police personnel in plain clothes commandeered the vehicle.”

Those arrested, members of the Tulong Anakpawis and Sagip Kanayunan, were on their way to a peasant community to distribute relief goods to fellow agricultural workers affected by the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

They were brought to the Norzagaray Police Station, allowed to leave the police station at 12:30 p.m. but were asked to return after a few minutes with no charges filed against them.

“We ask the PNP (Philippine National Police) to release our volunteers who are unjustly held without any violation at Norzagaray police station,” Danilo Ramos, KMP chairperson said.

In a separate statement, former Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao calls this incident, “Harassment, plain and simple.”

However, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) criticized Anakpawis for violations under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) as its members disregarded the “stay at home policy” by traveling unauthorized outside of Metro Manila.

Jonathan E. Malaya, DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary pointed out that people are “allowed to go out of residence to buy food, medicines or for medical emergencies”.

Malaya added that the PNP investigation showed that the true motive of the movement was to mount a mass gathering by conducting a teach-in or propaganda work against the government as proven by a number of tarpaulins, pamphlets, and propaganda materials found with the relief goods inside the jeepney. (Jojo Mangahis)