By Angel De Mesa
NAGA CITY – Three members of the Philippine National Police in camouflage attire “suspiciously” followed two student activists, October 18, as part of the state forces’ surveillance of progressive youth groups here.
Two student leaders of the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) in Camarines Sur were Naj Gamora and Jastine Escuro who is also a student in Ateneo De Naga University.
According to Escuro, the police officers was seen at the corner of the Cathedral Street in Ateneo Avenue. It was about 7:20 in the evening when they were supposedly heading home and suddenly noticed the three police following them after passing by.
They crossed the street to reach their acquaintance who was on the other side of the road and asked how long been the police were staying. Their acquaintance said it was about 15-20 minutes.
“It was right at the time that we saw a man watching us while eating. As soon as we had eaten we went away and we saw that the man was ‘texting’ someone. The man was tall, good body build, in a military haircut wearing white shirt and jeans,” Gamora told Baretang Bikolnon.
According to Gamora, their acquaintance told them that there were three police officers, one of them was roving to the Cathedral Street, a shortcut to Bagumbayan Sur road. Another student leader Jan Joseph Goingo went on this way just a few minutes later.
“Shortly after, we saw three policemen gathered at the corner. We noticed that they were looking at us and seemed to be talking about us. We took pictures of police officers and we started walking,” said Gamora.
Two of the three policemen immediately wore their helmet and followed the student activists in 7/11 store. “They stayed on the other side, at Naga Parochial School, for about a minute,” Gamora said.
According to the student activists, the police officers have high calibrated guns and these are the usual tactics of the state forces to silence activists in the country.
“SCMP-CamSur condemns the continuing surveillance of the members of PNP and other state forces to the student and youth leaders in Camarines Sur especially in Naga City,” said Escuro.
This incident was not new to the group, since last October 6, four PNP personnel in their full battle gear had already undergone surveillance on progressive youths along Ateneo Avenue and Ateneo De Naga University.
“Although there is no declaration of Martial Law here in Camarines Sur, still we can widely feel the essence and system of it,” Escuro added.
Despite the unrelenting incidents against the progressive youth groups, they are still firm in their stance to fight for what is just and what is right. Still they call on the Duterte administration to stop the continued harassment, threats and surveillance of progressive youth groups especially to its leaders in the country. (with report from Reynard Magtoto/BaretangBikolnon.com)