FOUR Filipina activists may be deported after they were arrested in Bali, Indonesia for participating in a protest against an Asian summit attended by the world's leaders, including US President Barack Obama.

Lidy Nacpil, Malou Tabios, Rhoda Viajar and Manjette Lopez, all members of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), may either be deported or face criminal charges in Indonesia, the group said in a statement issued on Saturday. Nacpil, Tabios, and Viajar act as secretariat of the regional group Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS-APMDD).

The four Filipinas are part of the so-called Bali 7, which includes three other Indonesians, Sri Ranti, Teguh Surya, and Gendo Suardana, who are all members of Walhi (Indonesian Friends of the Earth).

The Bali 7 were arrested after they participated in a rally that passed through "several foreign Consulate offices in Bali including those of the US and Japan on Friday morning," the FDC said.

The rally was organized by Indonesian Civil Society Coalition to coincide with the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit attended by Obama and the Philippines' Benigno Aquino III.

All seven were detained by Bali police for more than 12 hours starting Friday, November 18 at 3:00 PM until 4:15 AM November 19, the group said.

Indonesian police have yet to decide the fate of the three activists of Walhi (Indonesian Friends of the Earth). A final decision was supposed to be made by the police at 8:00 AM, Bali time (9:00 AM, Manila).

The Philippine Embassy in Jakarta has yet to answer text messages requesting status of the four arrested Filipinas.

Meanwhile, Raul Hernandez, the spokesperson of the Department of Foreign Affairs, said that no report has yet been received by the agency.

FDC Secretary-General Milo Tanchuling condemned the clamp down on the protesters and urged Indonesian authorities to release those who were arrested.

The civil society coalition called for ASEAN countries to defend their people's rights and sovereignty and meet the needs of their people first before serving rich countries' drive to plunder and control the remaining natural resources of ASEAN countries.

They further called on the ASEAN country leaders to claim reparations and restitution of ecological debt, including climate debt, owed by industrial countries to the peoples of the South.

"Acknowledgment of the past and present wrongs by the rich countries and their taking action based on respect for rights and needs of people in the majority world – most of them former colonies – is fundamental to ecological and climate justice," the coalition said.

Published in Sun Star