Activists continue to protest deportation of Philippine activist Jerome Aba
SAN FRANCISCO — “They don’t think we can mobilize enough so that people will know what happens here- that torture happens here and that pisses me off.”
Continued demonstrations by Filipino American activists at San Francisco’s International Airport on Monday, and now, other minority groups stand by them.
After 25-year-old Filipino activist Jerome Aba spoke out for the first time last weekend since he was detained at San Francisco International Airport, and deported to the Philippines 28 hours later, the outrage surrounding his denial of entry into the United States has only grown.
“This is an issue that affects all of our communities, all the folks in the US, there’s a crackdown on activists, there are folks who are affected from the Latino Muslim communities,” said Kira Salde-Azzam.
Speaking at a press conference last Friday, the Mindanao native who was invited for a speaking tour on human rights in the Philippines detailed his detention by US Customs and Border Protection.
“Hindi ako sanay na ako po mismo ngayon ang biktima na direkta ng paglabag sa karapatang pangtao.”
However, in an official statement, Customs and Border Protection said that after determining aba as inadmissible into the United States, they allowed him to voluntarily withdraw his application for admission into the country and did not issue a removal order for
Him. The CBP also denied Aba’s allegations of torture and religious discrimination.
Despite this, activists continue to press the office of California senator Kamala Harris to launch a full investigation into Aba’s detention.
Harris’ office has reportedly expressed concern over the incident. San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen is also working on introducing a resolution surrounding the incident.
“We want accountability from the people who did this to Jerome. There is no justifiable reason for torturing a young man who is coming here to speak on the human rights situation in the Philippines,” said Rhonda Ramiro. We would like accountability by the Department of Homeland Security. We would actually like to see the officers who treated him that way fired.”
Activists say more demonstrations are planned for here at San Francisco airport as well as the Philippine consulate — an institution these activists say did not do enough to protect one of its citizens.