April 19, 2022 (11:12 PM)

2 min read


POLICE HARASSMENT. Environmental advocates were harassed and heckled after conducting a silent protest against the proposed waste-to-energy incineration facility earlier, held in front of Sangguniang Panglungsod. Photo courtesy of Jericko Espina

Urging the Davao City local government unit and candidates for national and local posts to reject the proposed waste-to-energy (WTE) incineration facility, groups and individuals under the Sustainable Davao Movement gathered for a silent protest earlier in front of Sangguniang Panglungsod.

What was meant to be a peaceful, silent protest for the environment became a commotion between the police and organizers, leading to harassment and attempted arrest of an individual.

The organizers planned to do a protest walk around Centennial Park, but police forces slowly approached the protesters to disrupt their formation and confiscate their streamers and placards, tearing one placard in the process.

Because the police yelled at the protesters and insisted that they were not allowed to rally at the area, the latter decided to disperse to avoid further commotion.

However, while exiting, an individual attempted to grab Bayan Muna Partylist – Davao Coordinator Rauf Sissay for ‘questioning’ and ‘interview’ in the police station.

Sissay was held back by his fellow organizers and resisted the attempted arrest.

“Dili siya makatarungan ang pagpugong ug pagharas sa mga organizers ganiha sa silent protest… Gipakita gyud sa mga local forces, police, na unsa ilang gina kinaiya. Very frustrating to see that kind of treatment sa mga environmental advocates ug uban tao nga nakighiusa,” Sissay told Atenews.

Sissay called on the police and other government authorities to “exercise maximum tolerance” and “respect everyone’s right to express and bring forth their causes in the streets of Davao and beyond.”

“Katong nahitabo ganina, dili to siya ang makapadiscourage sa amoa, sa akoa, nga ipadayun sa pag-advocate sa mga causes that matter,” Sissay added, highlighting the unjustifiable treatment of police enforcers during the silent protest.

Jill Banta, Regional Coordinator for Mindanao, Plastic-Free Pinas Project Convenor expressed in an interview how WTE practices may cause diseases such as cancer, respiratory diseases, and developmental defects.

She also said how agricultural communities, including those who consume agricultural products, could also be affected through the spreading of diseases caused by WTE efforts. 

“Nakikita natin na may 20 barangays ang maaapektuhan dito, mula sa District 3 at District 1. At yung ipapatayong waste-to-energy incinerator facility na project ng ating city mayor ay ipapatayo sa isang agricultural community kung saan ang karamihan ay galing sa low-income na pamilya,” she said.

End the silence of the gagged!

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