Political prisoners end hunger strike, fast

“Ang pakikibaka para makamit ang hustisyang ipinagkait sa aming mga bilanggong pulitikal ay bahagi ng kabuuang laban para sa karapatang pantao (The struggle for justice long denied to political prisoners is part of the people’s struggle for human rights)” said political prisoners (PPs) from Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City in a statement, as 76 PPs ended their hunger strike  today, International Human Rights Day. At least 122 PPs also participated by fasting. 
They expressed gratitude to their families, progressive groups and organizations, and human rights and peace advocates here and abroad who supported the call for their release through solidarity fast, statements, rallies and other forms of protest actions and appeals. “We enjoin the Filipino people and individuals and organizations outside the Philippines to continue supporting the call for the release of all political prisoners,” they stated. 

Political detainees from across the country also conveyed their condemnation of state-perpetrated killings in light of the continuing implementation of counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan and the Duterte administration’s war on drugs. “The State is mandated to uphold human rights, yet it has been the number one perpetrator of violations,” they added. 

The detainees also expressed their criticism on Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año’s appointment as AFP chief, citing his record of violations while being head of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) and later, the Commanding General of the Philippine Army. Año’s promotion, according to them, “is a preview to a worsening human rights situation in the country.” They also questioned the President’s decisions towards allowing the political rehabilitation of the Marcoses through the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB). “Año’s appointment and the Marcos burial at the LNMB pose a hindrance to the Filipino people’s pursuit for justice.”

The political prisoners remain steadfast in supporting the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), but stressed that “the achievement of just and lasting peace is inextricably linked to addressing the roots of the armed conflict.” 

“As long as counter-insurgency programs remain operative, as long as landlessness, lack of decent jobs and wages persist, as long as imperialists remain free to plunder our land and resources, there will always be political prisoners; for it is in such desperate times that resistance becomes duty. It is in this regard that we continue to call for a comprehensive solution to the social and economic ills of our society,” political detainees said. 

In line with the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day, and in the continuing efforts for the struggle for people’s rights, political prisoners detained in various jails all over the country continue the call for the unconditional release of all political prisoners. “In the end, it is the people’s movement and our fight for our democratic rights that will prove decisive,” they concluded.