An Open Letter to President Rodrigo Duterte from Canadians for Just Peace in the Philippines

FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS! 

We, Canadians for just peace in the Philippines, strongly support the Peace Talks between the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDPF). We believe that the Peace Process is key to solving the long-standing armed conflict and we hope fervently for its success. 

For this reason, we appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to release all political prisoners. It is our firm belief that the release of all political prisoners is a critical step to achieve success in the Peace Talks. The president himself recognized this when he made his promise to free all political prisoners in conjunction with his declaration to resume the Peace Talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. 

We believe in the sincerity of President Duterte to pursue the peace negotiations and end the war that has cost so many lives and caused untold human suffering. We welcome the goodwill gesture of the President in releasing 22 consultants of the NDFP so they could participate at the Peace Talks last October in Oslo, Norway. It was in this spirit of fostering a favourable condition for the negotiations that the agreement signed by GRP and NDFP panels stipulates that the government panel will recommend to President Duterte the issuance of an Amnesty Proclamation for the release of prisoners who are listed by the NDFP. 

We are therefore deeply concerned by recent statements from the President that signal a reversal of his commitment to release all political prisoners and pursuit of a successful Peace Process. We are particularly disturbed that his government is now backtracking on previous commitments adding new conditions such as a signed ceasefire agreement between the GRP and NDFP panel as a precondition to the release of political prisoners. We fear that this condition which is not stipulated in the joint agreements between the GRP and NDFP panels could deteriorate the relationship of trust and confidence that is so crucial for the Peace Talks to succeed.

In solidarity with the Filipino people who have long aspired and struggled for just and lasting peace,

- We appeal to President Duterte to ensure the continuance and success of the Peace Talks and guarantee that the peace negotiation does not collapse by the failure to release all political prisoners.

- We urge the President to abide by the agreement signed by the GRP and NDFP panel and take immediate steps towards the issuance of an Amnesty Proclamation and to use his persuasive leadership to get the proclamation approved by Congress.

- We call on him to release the 3 consultants of the NDFP who remain in detention as a confidence-building measure.

- We call on him to release immediately on humanitarian grounds all the 130 ailing political prisoners. The tragic death of political prisoner Bernabe Ocasla on November 28highlights the urgency of their release.

- We call on President Duterte to further foster favourable conditions for the Peace Talks by putting an end to the counter-insurgency program, Operation Plan Bayanihan, and returning military troops to their barracks.

The release of all political prisoners is an issue of justice. We appeal to President Duterte to protect the right of his country’s citizens to speak and act on their political beliefs. We urge him to rectify the injustice committed against those who are imprisoned for exercising their right by releasing all political prisoners NOW.

Signatories

NATIONAL and REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

1. Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)

2. Hassan Yussef, National President, Canadian Labour Congress

3. Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)

4. National Union of General and Public Employees (NUPGE)

5. Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

6. Kelly Moist, National Executive Member CUPE Manitoba

7. Paul Moist, Past President, Canadian Union Of Public Employees

8. Mining Watch Canada

9. Rev. Rosemarie Lambie, Executive Secretary, Montreal and Ottawa Conference, United Church Of Canada

10. Jennifer Henry, Executive Director, KAIROS Canada

11. Rev. Japhet Ndhlovu, Program Coordinator, South Asia The United Church of Canada

12. Thomas S. Saras, President and CEO, National Ethnic Press and Media Council Canada

13. John Cartwright, President, Ontario Federation of Labour

14. International Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP-Canada)

15. Bern Jagunos, Global Council Member International Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines – ICCHRP

16. Douglas Booker, Global Council Member International Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines –ICCHRP

17. Rose Tijam, President - Philippine Press Club of Ontario

18. Joceylne Dubois, International Director, Canadian Labour Congress

19. Louise Casselman, Global Justice Officer Public Service Alliance of Canada BRITISH COLUMBIA

20. Mable Elmore – NDP Candidate Vancouver-Kensington

21. CUPE BC International Solidarity

22. Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC)

23. Alliance for People's Health (APH)

24. Grassroots Women

25. Red Sparks Union

26. Ayotzi68 Cultural Society

27. South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD)

28. Migrante BC

29. Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR)

30. Philippine Artist Network for Community Integrative Training Collective (PANCIT)

31. Mining Justice Alliance (MJA)

32. Dr. Valerie Raoul, Professor Emerita Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice University of British Columbia

33. Rev. Stuart Lyster, St. Stephen’s United Church, B.C.

34. Dr. Leonora C. Angeles, Associate Professor of Community and Regional Planning and Women's and Gender Studies University of British Columbia

35. Bert Monterona, International visual artist

36. Andrew Leger, President CUPE Local 1004

37. Katie Techen, BC Ferry and Marine Workers Union

38. Ronnie Nicolasora, UNIFOR 468W

39. Simon Lau, UNIFOR BC Young Workers Committee

40. Val Cadamia CUPE Local 728 – Surrey Schools Support Worker

41. Linda Harding, Regional VP Pacific, Government Services Union, PSAC WESTERN CANADA

42. Dhon Mojica, Chairperson of Migrante Alberta

43. Joel Zillman, UNIFOR Local 830, Winnipeg

44. Ryan Bradford, Teamsters Canada Local 987

45. Samuel Dutton, Teamsters Canada Local 987

46. Melanie Euero, UNIFOR Local 2169, Winnipeg TORONTO

47. John Cartwright, President, Toronto District Labour Council

48. Medhi Kouhestaninejad, Ontario Region Representative, Canadian Labour Congress

49. Hermie Garcia Publisher and Editor Philippine Reporter

50. Mila Astorga-Garcia, co-publisher and managing Editor of The Philippine Reporter

51. Ben Corpuz, Filipino Workers Network, CUPE Local 1750.

52. Philip Fernandez - CPCML

53. Thomas S. Saras, President and CEO, National Ethnic Press and Media Council Canada

54. Camilla Gibb, June Callwood Professor in Social Justice, University of Toronto

55. Rev. Dante Coloma – Parish Priest, Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Toronto

56. Rev Irene Ty, Minister, Thornhill United Church

57. Ethel Tungohan, Assistant Professor in Political Science, York University

58. Philip Kelly, Director York University Centre for Asian Research (YCAR)

59. Petronila Cleto, PEN Canada Writers-in-Exile Network; journalist and member. National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada

60. Dr. Rupa Banerjee, Associate professor, Ryerson University.

61. Carol Peck, Secretary Treasurer, Advent Lutheran Church

62. Sonia Da Costsa, Catholic Women’s League

63. Winsome Fletcher, Catholic Women’s League

64. Lillian D’Souza, Catholic Women’s League

65. June Dyer Anglican Church Women, Christ Church Stoufville

66. Cheryl Smith

67. Janet Barclay, Catholic Women’s Guild, Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, Pickering

68. Maryanne Farrell, Catholic Women’s Guild, Holy Redeemer Catholic Church

69. Susan Johnson, Manor Road United Church

70. Lehtel Shand, Coordinator WDP, Church of St. Andrew

71. Anna Crossthwaite, President Holy Redeemer Catholic Women’s Guild

72. Mary Fernando, President Catholic Women’s League St. Maria Goretti.

73. Cecila M Caughey, Spiritual Convener Catholic Women’s Guild

74. Shirley Knoutz, Spiritual Convener, Church of the Holy Trinity

75. Lynn Smart, former Chair of Festival Day, Our Lady of Lourdes Newman Center

76. Sonia Chetr, Coordinator WDP, Deer Park United Church

77. Joan Chang Outreach, Church of St. Andrew Scarborough

78. Maureen Maguire, Area 6-7 WDP Convener, Metropolitan Church – United Church

79. Angela Schwarz, Member of Women’s Inter Church Council, (WICC), United Church

80. Lynne Lamb, Lay Minister, St. Matthews United Church

81. Clare Barry, Rosedale United Church

82. Mary Pattison, Melrose Catholic Church

83. Uilia Fera, Immanuel United Church, Brampton

84. Daphne Haist, President Anglican Church Women, Church of our Savior

85. Marjorie Mower, Fairlawn Avenue United Church,

86. Luz Sanamaria, Outreach, Church of St. Jude

87. Michael Guzman, SEIU Healthcare

88. Zenee Maceda, United Food and Commercial Workers Toronto

89. Abdi Hagi Yusef, CUPW - Toronto

90. Maria Sherry Tan, Filicare Support Group/Pinoy Radio

91. Paldo Godoy, United Food and Commercial Workers Union

92. Gabriel Bako, United Food and Commercial Workers Union

93. Paige Galette, Continuing Education Students Association of Ryerson

94. Alex Banaog, United Food and Commercial Workers Union

95. Patrick Riley, Ontario Public Service Employees Union

96. Darcy Aime, Canadian Union of Postal Workers

97. Ennrika Beausoeur, Canadian Union of Postal Workers

98. Carole Robidoux, Canadian Union of Postal Workers

99. Rudy Persuad, United Food and Commercial Workers Union

100. Naveen Metha, United Food and Commercial Workers Union

101. Sam Akinsanya, Public Service Alliance of Canada

102. Pascale Trott Nelson, Service Employees International Union

103. Hyancintha Jayasuram, Graduates Student Union

104. Janet Moffat, United Steelworkers Union

105. Shari Jensen, United Food and Commercial Workers Union

106. Monica Staff, United Food and Commercial Workers Union

107. Frances Maher, Canadian Union of Postal Workers

108. Greg Dwulit, SEIU Healthcare

109. Christine Maclin, UNIFOR Local 195

110. Adrienne Plumley, Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO/ETT)

111. Tim Ruddy, Ontario Professional Firefighters Association (OPFFA)

112. Doug Warren, CUPW Toronto 626

113. Alex Josgh, Independent

114. Muriam Salman, Anakbayan Toronto

115. Fe Grzincic, International Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRPCanada)

116. Josie Forcadilla, United Church of Canada

117. Celia Conn, Independent

118. Dorthy McElhinney, United Church of Canada, Toronto

119. Bob McElhinney, United for Mining Justice.

120. Maria Simesa, Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Toronto

121. Hennie Bose, Iglesia Filipina Independiente, GTA

122. Gloria Ascuncion, Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Toronto

123. Leny Rose Scimbre, Iglesia Filipina Independiente/Migrante Ontario

124. Marisol Bobadillia, Migrante Ontario

125. Enrico Esguerra, ICHRP-Toronto

126. Maridel Dela Cruz, Migrante Ontario

127. Authur Pederico, Migrante Ontario

128. Anselmo Bobomo Migrante Ontario

129. Nancy Quinon, Filpino Migrant Workers Movement (FMWM)

130. Bayani Edades, Migrante Ontario

131. Lui Queano, Philippine Press Club of Ontario (PPCO)

132. Gemma Geronimo, Migrante Ontario

133. Steve Ruchinski MLPC

134. Bob McCabe, MLPC

135. Enver Harbans, National Representative at United Food & Commercial Workers International Union

136. Brenda Carmichael, UFCW 175

137. Ryan Donelly, Canadian Office & Professional Employees Union Local 343

138. Lauren Baert, PSAC- Customs and Immigration Union

139. Christoff Kyere, Unifor Local 1285 Brampton

140. Iraj Pakzamir, OPSEU Local 112

141. Jacqueline Murray, CUPE LOCAL 7797

142. Andre G. Vogue, Union of Environmental Workers (UEW/STE)

143. Bayit Sardlui, Hospital Employees Union

144. Renee Frost, Society of Energy Professionals - IFPTE Local 160

145. Harjinder Badial, Vice President, Teamsters Canada Local 419

146. Brigitte Sottile, Teamsters Canada

147. Lei Eigo, Unite Here Local 75

148. Susan McMurray, UNIFOR

149. Allan Basa, CUPE Local 79

150. Luisa Lampitoc, Shop Steward, OPSEU Local 502

151. Toni Eyre, United Steel Workers, Local 1998

152. Magdalena Diaz, Independent

153. Andrea Bobadilla, Independent OTTAWA

154. Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines

155. Pilipino Migrante Sa Canada (PMSC – Ottawa)

156. CUPE 4600 Teaching and Research Assistants and Contract Instructors, Carleton University

157. Hassan Husseini, President Ottawa Carleton CUPE District Council

158. Carl Laguerre, Regional Representative for Human Rights NCR, Public Service Alliance of Canada,

159. Don Swartz – Professor Carleton University School of Public Administration

160. Dr. Brian MacDougall, Contract Instructor, Carleton University.

161. Dr. Ravi Pendakur, Professeur / Professor Affaires publiques et internationales / Public and International Affairs Université d'Ottawa / University of Ottawa

162. Dr. Denise L. Spitzer, Ph.D. Professeure titulaire – Professor Institut d'études féministes et de genre-Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies, Université d'Ottawa-University of Ottawa

163. Gustavo Gottret – Professor Psychology, Université d'Ottawa-University of Ottawa

164. Fr. Pedro Arana, Priest Assumption Catholic Church

165. Rev. Brian Cornelius, First United Church, Ottawa

166. J.J. Smith, First United Church, Ottawa

167. James Scott, First United Church, Ottawa

168. Maridel Labuga, Philippine Migrants Society of Canada

169. Mary Jane DeGuzman, Philippine Migrants Society of Canada

170. Siobhan Kerwin, Student University of Ottawa,

171. Kelsey Marion, Student University of Ottawa,

172. Cathy Remus, Canadian Union of Public Employees

173. Yasmin Khan, Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines

174. Kelti Cameron, Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines

175. Stuart Ryan, Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines

176. Mackenzie Cubid, CKCU Radio – Talakayang Bayan

177. Alyssa Rufo, CKCU Radio – Talakayang Bayan

178. Stuart Ryan

179. Linda Green – Retired

180. Louise Belisile

181. Kim Good – Total Communication Environment

182. Cheryl Grant

183. Pam Griffin-Hody CUPE 2424

184. Wendy Bye

185. Jasmine Bye

186. Sonia Chamberlain

187. April Harrison – Student

188. Gaelle Giroux – Student

189. Tyler Labonte

190. Laura Kaeding PSAC-UTE

191. Kayria Tagholi – Student

192. Maria Khorkhordina Student

193. Jen May – Student

194. Kristine Castenos – Unifor Local 414

195. Meron Asefaw – Student

196. Laxy Saunthararajan - SEIU Local 2

197. Dr. Suzan Ilcan, Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Legal Studies, University of Waterloo, and Balsillie School of International Affairs, Waterloo, Canada Director, MA Global Governance Balsillie School of International Affairs

198. Dr. Daniel O’Connor, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Legal Studies, University of Waterloo Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Legal Studies, University of Waterloo QUEBEC

199. Ainsley Starton, Syndicat des employées et employés professionnels-les et de bureau (SEPB)

200. Kate Baldwin, SEPB 577

201. Cantal Dumoulin, SEPB Quebec

202. Susan Lewis, Christ Church Alymer Quebec

203. Rev. Eric Morin, Christ Church, Alymer Quebec ATLANTIC

204. Sharon Hubley, CUPE Nova Scotia Local 1867

205. Mario Rodriguez, CUPE Local 1655 – New Brunswick

206. Neville David, Atlantic Region, Public Service Alliance of Canada NORTH

207. Rashmi Patel, United Northern Workers - Yellowknife

 

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