Free our sisters, free all political prisoners


On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we renew the call for the release of all political prisoners, including women political prisoners.

As of December 31, 2023, there are 799 political prisoners, 164 of whom are women. These courageous women, all of them activists fighting for women’s rights and the people’s democratic interests, have been unjustly detained, their voices silenced by trumped-up charges, planted evidence, and perjured testimonies.

For too long, they have endured the cruelty of prolonged detention without progress in their cases, enduring separation from their loved ones and the communities they work with. Many have been subjected to torture and abuse, yet their commitment and determination remain unbroken.

A number of them have been unjustly convicted, like NDFP staff Cleofe Lagtapon and former campus journalist Alexandrea Pacalda. Another wrongfully convicted woman activist, Maritess Coseñas, has been diagnosed with breast cancer but has to endure oppressive prison conditions, including the lack of nutritious food.

Environmental activist Miguela Peniero faces a trumped up charge of terrorism, alongside numerous criminal charges, while journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio and humanitarian worker Marielle Domequil face similar charges under a fabricated financing terrorism case. Cultural worker and peasant organizer Amanda Echanis, peace consultant Loida Magpatoc, youth leader Myles Albasin, public sector organizer Rowena Rosales, and former church worker Evangeline Rapanut have been in jail for years on trumped up charges.

Moreover, our sisters continue to face grave violations of International Humanitarian Law. The recent killing of former paralegal Hannah Jay Cesiste in Bohol serves as a stark reminder of the dangers women face in their pursuit of justice and democracy. Hannah had both been rendered an hors de combat, yet were summarily executed by State forces in the conduct of their brutal counter-insurgency war.

On this day of solidarity and action, we raise our voices to demand the immediate release of all political prisoners, especially our sisters who have been unjustly detained, and particularly the ailing, the elderly and the nursing mothers among them. We denounce the systemic injustices that target Filipino women, as we reaffirm our commitment to fight for their freedom and advance their rights.

We denounce the Marcos-Duterte regime and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the continuing attacks against Filipino women, while its police forces trivialize women’s plight and struggles through stiletto runs.

In solidarity with our struggling sisters and peoples of the world, we continue to strive for a future where no one, woman or man, is silenced or oppressed, and where everyone can exercise their rights without fear or persecution.