As part of the October Peasant Month this year and Defend Peasant Women campaign, the Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women together with its chapter nationwide demanded the Marcos government to release more than 70 peasant women political prisoners imprisoned, majority of which, 60 were under Duterte regime.
“Kalakhan ng kababaihang magbubukid na bilanggong pulitikal ay biktima ng gawa-gawang kaso tulad ng illegal possession of firearms and explosives. Bago sila hinuli, sila ay naging biktima ng matinding kampanyang redtagging ng militar, bilang panunupil sa kanilang pamumuno at pagkilos para ipagtanggol ang kanilang karapatan sa lupa. Ilang taon na silang malayo sa pamilya at ang ilan ay namatay dahil sa sakit, at namatayan ng anak dahil nahiwalay sa kanya ito. Panawagan namin ay kagyat silang palayain at ibasura ang gawa-gawang kasong isinampa sa kanila,” Zen Soriano, Amihan National Chairperson said.
The peasant women group demanded the releases of Genalyn Avelino, Amanda Echanis, Marilyn Chiva, Marevic Aguirre, Aileen Catamin, Marilou Catamin, Eleutricia Caro, Jucie Katipunan Caro, Nona Espinosa, Azucena Garubat, Ma. Lindy Perocho, Imelda Sultan, Marivic Colito, Mylene Colito, Corazon Javier, Armogena Caballero, Margie Baylosis, Merlinda Abraham, Rea Casuyon, Melissa Comiso and others. The group continued to demand justice for all the victims of rights abuses and accountability of perpetrators.
Moreover, Amihan cited the cases of Adelaida Macusang, jailed in Tagum City who died on May 4, 2020, due to cardiac arrest and kidney failure; Nona Espinosa, jailed in Guihulngan City, who was separated from her newborn baby Carlen who died due to infection to lungs and blood; and Ma. Lindy Perocho, jailed in Escalante City, 57 years old, a member of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) was arrested on November 1, 2019, and accused of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. She is in dire need of immediate and proper medical attention due to her heart and kidney problems.
Amihan added that political prisoners especially the elderly, sick, pregnant, and nursing mothers, those who are due for parole, at least one spouse each of political prisoner couples, and accidental victims of political arrests should be released.
“Inilapit na namin ito sa Commission on Human Rights at Committee on Human Rights sa kongreso noong 17th Congress para imbestigahan at hindi umusad ang kaso, sa ngayon, plano ulit naming i-apela sa kanila,” Soriano added.
Amihan added that under the new administration, as the landlessness worsened and economic and food crises intensified, many peasant women will continue to assert their rights to land, food, and livelihood. It means that the rights abuses and fascist attacks will continue such as extrajudicial killings, illegal arrest and detention, filing of trumped-up charges, red-tagging, and forced surrender against peasant women and their families by state forces.
During the marking of International Rural Women’s Day, more than 91 individuals and 72 international and local organizations supported the campaign of Amihan including the release of peasant women political prisoners in the country.
Moreover, Justice secretary Crispin Remulla met with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights early this month, and promised to strengthen human rights mechanisms in the country.
“Panawagan namin kay justice sec Remulla na humiling ng redemption sa kanyang anak na suspect sa drug pushing, ay unahin nang ibasura ang mga gawa-gawang kaso laban sa mga kababaihang magbubukid. Huwag niyang ipakita na ang pagkilala sa human rights ay para lang sa kanyang pamilya at mga alyado, kundi para sa sambayanang Pilipino,” Soriano called.
Amihan urged the public to join its call #DefendPeasantWomen and free all political prisoners in the country amid resistance to the worsening condition of poor people, especially the peasant women sector under the Marcos government. ###
Image by Mako Micro-press