Scientist group condemns arrest of Piston leader


December 5, 2017


We at AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People condemn the arrest of PISTON leader George San Mateo as an affront to the legitimate demand of the jeepney drivers, operators, and commuters to repeal the anti-people PUV Modernization Program and replace it with a genuine program for mass transportation.

San Mateo was arrested today by the Quezon City Police at the QC Hall of Justice where he arrived to post bail. The case filed against San Mateo is a trumped-up accusation that shows the government’s refusal to heed the calls of the protesting groups. The supposed violation of failing to deliver the transportation service unjustly puts the blame on the protesting drivers who joined the strike to oppose a program that will adversely impact their livelihood.

Piston, along with the drivers, operators, commuters, and the people who supported their previous transport strikes are committed in demanding an adequate mass transportation service. Piston’s willingness to cooperate with the government is evident when the former cancelled their scheduled strike as a response to Senator Poe’s call for a Senate hearing on the issue. Yet it is President Duterte himself who refuses cooperation and instead uses the threat of incarceration to spark terror among Piston members and drivers.

This incident along with multitudes of human rights violations against activists demonstrate the Duterte administration’s intensifying dictatorship tendencies, willing to employ violence wherever opposition to his anti-people policies are found.

AGHAM calls on the immediate release of George San Mateo and the dropping of the false charges against him. We likewise call on the people to counter the increasing fascism of Duterte’s government by supporting the protests of Piston and other groups who oppose anti-people policies and programs.#

Cleng Julve
Campaign officer, AGHAM
(02) 282-4129