GABRIELA NY activists detained in Cotabato, later released

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Licensed NYC social worker Jamy Drapeza is one of five individuals detained in Cotabato. Photo: Makilala TV

Licensed NYC social worker Jamy Drapeza was one of five individuals detained in Cotabato. Photo: Makilala TV

Social worker Jamy Drapeza and photographer Julie Jamora were part of a five-person delegation that was detained on February 22 on suspicion of being terrorists, and later released.

Drapeza and Jamora – secretary-general and chairperson of GABRIELA NY, respectively — together with Dinah Anderson, Adam Shaw, and Tawanda Chandiwana, were reportedly accused by Philippine law enforcement authorities of being affiliated with ISIS.

“GABRIELA New York is vehemently denouncing the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for their harassment and arbitrary detainment of several delegates of an International Solidarity Mission (ISM) in General Santos,” the group said in a statement issued to news organizations. “Three GABRIELA NY members were among the detained, threatened with deportation and accused of being terrorists affiliated with ISIS.”

The statement does not identify the three GABRIELA members, although reports say the five apprehended activists included three Filipino-Americans, one American and one Zimbabwe national.

According to an Inquirer report, the activists were in the Philippines to look into the massacre of nine civilians in Lake Sebu town in South Cotabato province.

The GABRIELA statement states the delegation was invited by the International Solidarity Mission (ISM), a group that is investigating and providing “psychosocial aid” to the lumad community after the Lake Sebu massacre.

GABRIELA activists Jamy Drapeza, Dinah Anderson, and Julie Jamora crowdfund for  their immersion trip.

GABRIELA activists Jamy Drapeza, Dinah Anderson, and Julie Jamora crowdfund for their immersion trip.

South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said police officers asked the group for identification and travel documents, and the activists could not present any. They were brought to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau of Immigration offices in General Santos City, and later released.

“We extend our solidarity and support to all the members of the ISM, including the two Methodist Church missionaries, who were held at the Gen San Bureau of Immigration for hours as various government officials and policemen hemmed and hawed over the delegates’ legal documents,” says the statement.

The three FilAms organized a GoFundMe fundraiser for their travel expenses. They said, “During the International Fact Finding and Solidarity Mission and exposure trip, we’ll be immersing ourselves in the struggle of the Filipino people by integrating within different sectors of society such as peasants, urban poor communities, Moro and indigenous peoples, women, political prisoners, human rights defenders and other sectors who are directly impacted. We’ll see the conditions firsthand, listen and learn from these communities about their social, political, and economic realities and how they continue to rise against fascism, resist militarization, and unite in the fight for genuine peace and liberation!”

Drapeza is a licensed social worker. She appeared in a recent episode of Makilala TV on the issue of sexual misconduct, and shared her personal #MeToo experience.

A clinal social worker and therapist, Drapeza says she specializes in treating individuals in transition.

“Whether it’s growing up and out of the adolescent and young adult phase, surviving and thriving beyond incarceration and homelessness, or realizing you’re at the start of something new and don’t have a reference point or template to guide you through it,” she says in her professional profile.

© The FilAm 2018

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