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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, November 12, 2019
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NFSW leader freed on bail;
Illegal dismissal raps filed


One of 11 detained activists in Bacolod City was freed on bail yesterday, Makabayan bloc chair Neri Colmenares confirmed last night.

John Milton Lozande, secretary-general of the National Federation of Sugar Workers, was released from the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Camp Alfredo Montelibano Sr. in Bacolod City after he posted P120,000 in bail set by the court.

Lozande was among the 55 individuals, including 13 minors, who were rounded up by the police in simultaneous raids on offices of progressive organizations on October 31.

Last week, the minors were turned over to their parents and guardians while the 31 individuals - 21 terminated workers of a bus company and the 10 youth members of cultural group Teatro Obrero - were released from detention for lack of probable cause.

The prosecutor, meanwhile, recommended the filing of charges against the remaining 11 suspects.

The seven are facing charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives, a non-bailable offense, while Lozande and the three others were charged for possession of firearms, a bailable offense.

Colmenares said they are hoping to raise funds so the three remaining activists - Danilo Tabura and Roberto Lachica of the NFSW, and Mary Ann Kreuger of newly established alternative media outfit Paghimutad - can post bail.

Meanwhile, lawyer Jose Max Ortiz, counsel of the 21 terminated workers who were arrested in the raids, said they filed an illegal dismissal complaint before the National Labor Relations Commission against the management of Vallacar Transit Inc., former employer of his clients, yesterday.*


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