Kin of political prisoners start fasting nationwide to call for loved ones' immediate release

"Today, we, relatives of the political prisoners in the Philippines, will start to fast for the immediate release of our loved ones. Our message is clear: FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!” Boy Cadano, father of youth political prisoner Guiller said. From December 3, on the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners of the International League of Peoples' Struggles (ILPS), political prisoners and their relatives all over the country will skip day meals and snacks as a sign of protest to their continuing detention. Come the 7th, some of them will advance their protest and go on hunger strike until December 10, the International Human Rights Day. 
 
 
“Our loved ones have already lost too many years, suffering in prison. Some of them have already died while in detention,” Cadano said, referring to the death of political prisoner Bernabe Ocasla, 66 years old, who had high hopes of being released as promised by the peace panel of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. Ocasla died as prisoner last November 28. He suffered three cardiac arrests leading to his death. 

"Political prisoners are victims of the government’s injustice. They are persons caring for the marginalized sectors of the society but they were jailed for trumped up charges. They are not criminals,” Cadano said. 

“Kaming mga bilanggong pulitikal na nakadetine sa Camp Bagong Diwa sa Taguig City ay dismayado sa mga pangako at puro salitang ipinagmamayabang ng OPAPP at GRP,” (We the political prisoners detained at Camp Bagong Diwa are disappointed at the OPAPP and GRP’s promises and bragging) Camp Bagong Diwa political detainees said in a statement. It was in this jail that Eduardo Serrano was detained when he died of heart failure. Serrano, a consultant for the peace talks for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines spent ten (10) years in jail. During his last few months, favorable court rulings made him and his family optimistic of his release. However, Serrano suffered a heart attack and passed away, without seeing the day of his release from prison. 

Thirty-eight (38) political prisoners at the Compostela Valley Provincial Rehabilitation Center will be joined by more than 500 common offenders for the fasting and hunger strike. In Davao Penal Colony, 10 convicted political prisoners will also join the fasting. Political prisoners in jails across Southern Tagalog will also refuse their day meal budget from December 3-10. 

“More political prisoners, and even ordinary inmates, in detention facilities are expressing their support and will be joining the fasting,” Cadano reported. “We will be staying at Peace Tents in Mendiola until international Human Rights Day to make our voices heard,” Cadano said. Many organizations from different sectors have already expressed their sympathy and will join the fasting during the week long activity. ###
 

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