Political prisoners heighten hunger strike
Eighteen political prisoners from Tagum City, Patin-ay in Agusan del Sur, Cebu and Taguig City are now on hunger strike to underscore the call for the release of all political prisoners.500 inmates at the Compostela Valley Provincial Rehabilitation Center have joined the hunger strike in sympathy with the political prisoners in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. Meanwhile, other political prisoners in 10 jails all over the country continue their fast that was started on July 16.
The Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) started its week-long fast on July 16 in time for the Noynoy Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23. The political prisoners demand to release all political prisoners specifically calls for Aquino to proclaim a general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty.
Solidarity actions of relatives, friends and other human rights advocatesare also held simultaneously. In Davao City,a picket was held along San Pedro St. to echo the call of the political prisoners. In Cebu City, a solidarity fasting center was also mounted by Karapatan Central Visayas in FuenteOsmeña Blvd. In Iloilo City, the political prisoners made a television interview right after their court hearing to call for their release on July 18. Their families, SELDA-Iloilo chapter and Panay Alliance-Karapatan mounted a fasting center at the heart of Iloilo City until July 20. In Metro Manila, a solidarity fast was held at the grounds of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the first day of the fast. A picket was also held at the National Headquarters of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame. This was participated in by various people’s organizations, relatives and friends of the political prisoners.
At the Maximum security of the New Bilibid Prisons, jail guards removed the “Free All Political Prisoners” streamer mounted by political prisoners. The political prisoners defied the order by mounting back the streamer the following day.
“Political prisoners will muster all their efforts until Noynoy Aquino heeds their call. Steel and concrete high walls can’t prevent political prisoners from fighting for justice and freedom.” Angie Ipong, a former political prisoner and secretary general of SELDA concluded.
The political prisoners who are currently on hunger strike and fast are those at the Medium and Maximum Security in New Bilibid Prisons, Male and female dorm of Special Intensive Care Area (SICA) Camp BagongDiwa, Metro Manila District Jail (Cuerna), Camp Lapu-lapu Central Command in Cebu, Victorias City Jail in Negros Occidental, Iloilo Provincial Integrated Jail (IPIL), Calbayog Jail, Misamis Oriental Provincial Jail and Isabela Provincial Jail.