Political prisoners launched nationwide fast for freedom and human rights
On Political Prisoners
Thursday, 21 July 2011 17:26

Political prisoners launched nationwide fast for freedom and human rights


(Photo 1- PAHRA members together with peoples organizations in a press conference in Quezon City. Photo 2- TFDP Cebu and relatives of political detainees also held their press conference.)

Human rights groups and peoples’ organizations led by the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) declared in a press conference this morning in Quezon City the start of the nationwide fasting of political prisoners dubbed as “Fast for freedom, fast for human rights,” to call for President Benigno Aquino III to release all political prisoners and declare a clear human rights policy.  

“Today, July 21, 2011, all political prisoners languishing in jails around the country start their protest by skipping breakfast and lunch to fast for freedom and human rights,” Emmanuel Amistad , Executive Director of Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) said.

283580_185442454852608_100001605643642_537376_3406516_nPolitical prisoners in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) led the protest fasting as indignation to the death of the cancer-stricken political prisoner Tatay Mariano Umbrero who died in July 15, 2011 after government’s failure in granting executive clemency on humanitarian grounds.

“Ang pag-aayunong ito ay aming ilulunsad dahil sa kawalan ng sinserong pagtugon o atensiyon ng administrasyong Aquino sa mga isyu ng karapatang pantao.  Bahagi din ng pag-aayunong ito ang panawagan para sa pagpapalaya sa lahat ng tulad naming bilanggong pulitikal na walang tinatanging organisasyong pinagmulan,” Juanito Itaas, chairperson of the Political Prisoners Steering Committee in NBP, Muntinglupa said in their statement furnished to media.

Rights groups declared that nothing has changed under the first year of P-noy’s administration. Human rights violations persist; the climate of impunity remains..

“P-Noy failed to make human rights a priority on its agenda and governance,” Max de Mesa, PAHRA Chairperson continued. “Had P-Noy incorporated and implemented human rights principles as basis for governance and for the country’s development plan, P-Noy’s administration for the year would have kept on the ‘matuwid na daan’.”

In the first year of P-Noy administration, cases of arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearance and extra-legal killings as well as forced evictions have begun to pile up.

PAHRA said it strongly urges P-Noy to dissipate from the climate of fear so as to break through the Arroyo-devised culture of impunity. P-Noy administration has no clear human rights program to offer to Filipinos.  One year in office and yet we see no concrete policy for the respect, protection and fulfillment of human rights.    

“Ang bawat dagok sa karapatang pantao ay pako sa kabaong ng administrasyong ito,” Dr. Renato Mabunga, Chairperson of Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas said.

“The death of Mariano Umbrero, 63, cancer-stricken political prisoner who was detained and died inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) hospital, shows the incapacity and failure of the P-Noy administration to do a compassionate and humanitarian act,” TFDP added.

TFDP said that the case of Tatay Umbrero is one proof that this administration is inconsiderate “at bingi sa palahaw ng mga biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao.”  

“This situation only reflects that last administration’s poor human rights performance still persists and this only serve to throw the spotlight on P-Noy’s ‘matuwid na daan’ is only impressive on paper but extremely poor in the respect, protection and fulfillment of human rights,” the Medical Action Group (MAG) said.

PAHRA said that in a year of P-Noy administration, the paramilitary groups, including Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs), still exhibit abusive power with total impunity. These armed groups roam around Central Luzon where systematic and continuing incidences of human rights violations are daily occurence.

PAHRA, TFDP, MAG and other human rights groups and peoples organizations calls for:


  • immediate issuance of an Executive Order that would start of the process of making a National Human Rights Agenda;
  • release immediately all political prisoners and;
  • reform the prison and correction system specifically the Rules on Parole and Guidelines for Recommending Executive Clemency of the Board of Pardons and Parole.

There is one other thing that P-Noy can do for us to see through the darks days ahead in the “matuwid na daan”, other than by telling “our economy grew” and the “war on corruption is gaining ground.” That is to put the respect, protection and fulfillment of human rights on its governance.

Political prisoners and detainees in NBP together with those incarcerated in jails in other parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao join the protest actions in denouncing the P-Noy’s “matuwid na daan” as a sham.  They vow to escalate their fast to a hunger strike soon as the government continues to ignore human rights in its governance agenda.-end-

Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearance (AFAD), BALAY Rehabilitation Center, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Families of Victims of Enforced Disappearance (FIND), Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD), Human Rights Defenders (HRD)-Pilipinas, Medical Action Group (MAG), Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates(PAHRA), REHAS-Alab Katipunan, SANLAKAS and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)

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Last Updated on Friday, 22 July 2011 11:05

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