Nineteen-year old youth activist Azrael De Guzman, fondly known as Azi by his fellow peers, is one of the six activists arrested during the Labor Day.

While in jail, he wrote a poem “Sa kung saan ako napadpad” to reflect on the places he has traversed throughout his journey in activism.

Sa eskwelahan ako’y napadpad
May isang estudyante
Kasama kong lumaban
Para sa libreng edukasyon

Azi studied in the University of the East Caloocan where he became part of Anakbayan South Caloocan. He championed the fight for students’ rights and welfare including the condemnation against tuition hikes, return of the Mandatory ROTC, academic freedom among others.

Sa pabrika ako’y napadpad
Sa kanilang kampuhan
Sinigaw namin ang sahod, trabaho, karapatan

BAYAN MUNA CAMANAVA organizer Tanya Ladlad recalled Azi during the Manila Harbor workers’ encampment in Manila last November 2022.

The said encampment, led by the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Harbor Centre (UMHC), was successfully established and lasted for four days in front of the Manila Harbor.

At that time, Ladlad encountered Azi to struggling in leveling off with his peers saying. However, Ladlad noted Azi is a keen listener and often initiates the discussion to workers and youth.

“Mahusay siyang magturo, sinisikap niyang mag-explain. Pagod kung pagod siyang talaga,” said Ladlad.

Ladlad said Azi always have a profound interest to stand with the plight of the marginalized sectors through activism.

Sa komunidad ako’y napadpad
May isang pamilya
Nagtagpo’t nagkaisa muli sa barikada
Lumalaban, nakikibaka

Azi was also among the youth activists who rallied behind the residents of Brgy. Veinte Reales in Valenzuela amid looming threat of demolition.

His fellow activist, Bea, remembered Azi to always have a dirty feet whenever he returned home or came back to their resting place.

“Madumi lagi paa ni Azi kapag nauwi, syempre kasi galing pakat,” Bea shared.

During the nationwide transport protests this year, Azi has integrated with the jeepney drivers in areas of Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela.

DEFEND CAMANAVA recounted Azi as selfless and hardworking youth who persevered even in the face of such trying times.

Sa karagatan ako’y napadpad
Ang mga mangngisda
Hindi sa tubig
Kundi sa utang nalulunod

Last March, Azi also immersed with the fisherfolk and mussel raisers communities in Navotas City amid the continuing demolition of mussel farms due to the ambitious reclamation projects in Manila Bay, specifically the 650-hectare Navotas Coastal Bay Reclamation Project.

He helped teach his fellow youth and fisherfolk. The youth activist spearheaded in making placards and streamers needed for activities like protest actions, cultural events, and gatherings to amplify the fisherfolk’s call to stop the demolition and reclamation projects in Manila Bay.

Sa selda ako’y napadpad
Ang bilanggo’y mas mabuti pa
Sa pasistang kriminal
At sa laban ay rinig ang laban para sa Kalayaan

On May 1 during the Labor day protest, Azi was arrested due to illegal assembly and direct assault.

Karapatan NCR noted that Azi alongside five others were arbitrarily arrested for nearly a week.

Yesterday, the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 18 through executive Judge Carolina Icasiano-Sison granted the urgent petition to post bail filed by their legal counsel.  

It was only then that the charges of direct assault and illegal assembly under BP 880 were the violations pursued against the Mayo Uno 6. Karapatan NCR stressed that Mayo Uno 6 only became aware of charges against them yesterday due to the fiscal’s failure to promptly file the case in court.

“This only emphasized the flawed and inutile justice system we have for this country. We ultimately demand the immediate release of the Mayo 6 who are only championing the struggling for the interest of the workers and the public,” said Karapatan NCR.

Sa gabi’t araw na lumipas
Sa aking pag-aaklas
Ang aking tahanan naging
kung nasaan ang sambayanan

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