[Statement] Free ALL political prisoners coming from ALL rebel groups -TFDP

Free ALL political prisoners coming from ALL rebel groups

LONG HELD PPS websiteTask Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) welcomes the resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF). Since 1986, we have keenly watched the perilous journey towards peace between the two parties.

TFDP, like all other Filipinos, desires peace – a peace firmly anchored on the bedrock of justice. For too long so many of our kababayans have wallowed in abject poverty and exclusion. Thirty years of elite democracy has proven it cannot alleviate the problems of hunger, landlessness, joblessness, exclusion and discrimination.

The time to change was years ago. Now, we are given the opportunity once more to tread the path of change.

TFDP welcomes the release of political prisoners through amnesty. We welcome the immediate release of those who are sickly and those who are covered by the JASIG.

In the spirit of compassion and mercy and as an act of statesmanship, we request the two parties to consider these proposals.

We ask the two parties to consider the release of ALL political prisoners coming from ALL rebel groups as a major step towards peace and reconciliation. We are fully aware that a great number of the political prisoners come from the NDF bloc but we are aware too that a significant number come from our Moro brothers and sisters. There are also long-held political prisoners like Juanito Itaas, Gerry Butial,  and Basilides Badion who have languished in jail since the time of Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos. There are also those coming from other rebel groups such as the RPM-RPA-ABB, the RHB, the MLPP-ABB, etc.
All of them deserve freedom. All of them long to embrace their loved ones.

Any meaningful amnesty proclamation must cover ALL political prisoners coming from ALL rebel groups. Any release of political prisoners should not discriminate against their political affiliation and must not exclude any by virtue of a limited period of coverage.
We must free ALL political prisoners recognized as such coming from ALL rebel groups regardless of when and where they committed their alleged offenses.

The amnesty proclamation should cover Juanito “Nitoy” Itaas, the longest held political prisoner to date (based on our records). He has already applied for amnesty under the administration of Fidel V. Ramos but was denied release due to outside pressure.

We reiterate our call: Free ALL political prisoners coming from ALL rebel groups!
Pursue peace based on justice!

EMMANUEL AMISTAD
Executive Director
ecamistad@yahoo.com

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