MANILA, Dec. 8, 2010â€”Political detainees all over the country are holding hunger strike and solidarity fasts for the release of Morong 43 and all political prisoners.
The Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), an organization of former political prisoners in the country, said at least 99 political detainees are holding solidarity protests for the immediate release of Morong 43 and all 371 political prisoners.
Fr. Dionito Cabillas, SELDA Secretary General and convenor of the Free the 43 Health Workers Alliance said five detainees are on hunger strike in detention facilities in Cagayan Valley and Metro Manila while the rest are on solidarity fasting.
The solidarity actions, which began December 3, include hunger strikes, fasting, mass, rallies and programs inside the detention facilities participated in by political prisoners and other inmates.
According to SELDA and Karapatan, there were about 2,059 victims of illegal arrest under the Arroyo government, 579 of them are human rights defenders, 333 of them are women and 112 of them are minors at the time of their arrest. Among these victims are the Morong 43.
In the first four months of the new Aquino government, there are already thirteen (13) political prisoners, among the 23 victims of illegal arrest and detention. Sixteen out of the 23 were victims of torture.
â€œSELDA attributes this directly to Aquinoâ€™s continued implementation of the Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), Arroyoâ€™s former counter-insurgency policy which has spawned the extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and trumped up charges against activists and supporters. Aquinoâ€™s upcoming counter-insurgency policy can only result to more victims of illegal arrests and arbitrary detention, EJKs, enforced disappearances and thousands of more human rights violations,â€ Cabillas said. (CBCPNews)