DAVAO CITY – Progressive groups led a hunger strike and noise barrage protest to mark the International Political Prisoners Day.
They claimed that more than 200 political prisoners were arrested under President Benigno Aquino, III’s term.
According to the human rights group Karapatan, there are 491 political prisoners, 220 of them under the Aquino government.
There are 43 female political prisoners, 53 are ailing, 42 are elderly, and six are minors.
Meanwhile, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary-general Sheena Duazo, cited that in Southern Mindanao, there are “32 political prisoners who are languishing in jail due to trumped-up charges and criminalization of political offense.”
Political prisoners nationwide began a seven-day fasting Wednesday until December 10 during the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day.
In solidarity with the political prisoners, the protesters in the city also went on a 12-hour fasting from 6 am- to 6pm.
Duazo said that “the government of Aquino must address the root-cause of the armed conflict in the country and must release all political prisoners and peace consultants of NDFP immediately.”
“Why jail those who are nationalists, those who fight for genuine land reform, human rights and liberation of our country from local and foreign oppression? Political prisoners must be freed and be allowed to exercise their political rights,” Duazo said.
Meanwhile, political prisoners from Compostela Valley provincial jail in Tagum City sent a letter of appeal to President Aquino calling for their immediate release.
“The political prisoners are not the enemy of Filipino people. The plunderers and those who perpetuate human rights violations, killings, disappearances, torture and harassment are those who should be jailed,” Clamor said. (With reports from Bal Kenneth Aballe and Maolen Oledan-Estomagulang, Interns/davaotoday.com)