MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Six Filipino activists set to attend a meeting of non-government organizations in preparation for the G-20 Global Economic Summit have been held at the international airport in South Korea on Saturday.
Upon reaching the immigration area at the Incheon International Airport in Seoul, they were informed that they have been blacklisted by the Korean government and were asked to take the return flight to Manila immediately.
"This group was about to attend the People's Collective Action Against the G-20 Summit... They were not allowed to enter Korea," Kit Melgar, chief of staff of Akbayan Rep Walden Belo told ANC in an interview Saturday evening.
Read: The Philippine interest in the G20 summit in Seoul: A Guide
Belo is part of Focus on the Global South whose representative, Joseph Purugganan, was among the detained.
The detained activists were:
- Maria Lorena Macabuag of Migrant Forum Asia
- Josua Mata of trade union group Alliance of Progressive Labor
- Joseph Purugganan of development policy group Focus on the Global South
- Jess Santiago, an artist
- Rogelio Soluta of labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno
- Paul Quintos of research group Ibon
Quintos has reportedly been detained in Seoul since Friday night. The other 5 arrived in Seoul via Korean Air 622 at 5:10 p.m.
"We were just informed that we are blacklisted by Korean government and that we are not allowed to enter Korea. They also told us that we will be sent back to Philippines tonight," Macabuag said in a text message to her peers at the Freedom from Debt Coalition, which informed the local media.
"We asked for a written explanation why we are blacklisted. They told us they will get back to us. I think they are in a hurry to send us back home but since we asked for written explanation, they are delaying things," added Migrant Forum's Macabuag.
They are being "forced" to board the 9:30 p.m. flight back to Manila, Melgar said.
Macabuag noted that other activists from India, Indonesia and Nigeria have been allowed to enter South Korea.
South Korean police are on their highest alert level to guard against possible violent protests and terror threats ahead of the G-20 Summit, which is scheduled for November 11 to 12. The G-20 is made up of the finance ministers and central bank governors of 19 countries.
All rallies and demonstrations within a 2-kilometer radius of the Summit's venue in Seoul are banned from November 8 to 12.
"We have requested the Philippine Embassy (in Seoul) to make inquiries with [South] Korean authorities. We'll give you updates once we receive them," Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ed Malaya told ABS-CBN News in a text message. - with report from Caroline Howard, ANC