Our 10 Days of Fasting/Hunger Strike Before and During the Visit of Pope Francis I to Our Country

Starting five days before the January 15 arrival of Pope Francis I in our country, we, political prisoners in Camp Bagong Diwa, went on fasting/hunger strike. And during the five days of his actual visit to our country bringing along “mercy and compassion”, we proceeded to go on hunger strike.

All such act of self-sacrifice, to make loud our calls for our freedom, for justice, for real solutions to social ills, for serious efforts towards peace in our country.

These calls emphasize our dire situation as political prisoners — imprisoned because of our struggles for political and social changes in the interest of the people; subjected to severe repressions, reprisals, abuses, deprivations, and other fascist acts by state and jail authorities; made to suffer and one of the most rotten and slowest crawl of justice in the world, and frustrated with the long lack of progress in the peace process.

We went through such act, with a significantly highly raised level of unity of forces, will to fight and resistance to repressions, and were able to proceed steadfast and advance in our act of self-sacrifice for our calls. This, in the face of foul and fascist reactions to our act, and in the face of violations of our rights to the extent of disregarding international protocols on respect for human rights, the United Nation’s norms on the treatment of prisoners, as well as the prevailing state’s own laws — particularly here at the Special Intensive Care Area1(SICA1) Jail in Camp Bagong Diwa.

From the very start, our doctors were totally barred from visiting us and checking on our medical conditions. There were instances, when even our lawyers and some of our loved ones were also barred. Many, many visitors from human rights organizations, and many more other supporters were also cruelly barred.

Worse, prison authorities here at the SICA1 Jail, even cooked up and unleased malicious and vicious schemes to isolate us, political prisoners, and induce, from other inmates under the hands of leaders of a lumpen prison gang and of those accused by the government as terrorists, intensified antagonisms and orchestrated threats of violence against us. This, by also barring the visitors of all other inmates and casting the blame for such on the “foolish” (“kalokohan”) hunger strike of political prisoners.

This, even as, among their ranks, we have many friends and sympathizers, whom we have been in touch with and even wrote to about the noble objectives of our act, in order to gain their unity with us, even as they are being prevented from doing so by threats against them.

We also have taken, and continue to take, appropriate steps direct to the public and also via the courts and other institutions, in effort to put in place and counter such foul and fascist acts of the jail authorities against our loved ones, and against others caring about and supporting us.

In the midst of all these, we have remained solid and in peace, and have maintained our steadfastness in our act, well up to its successful conclusion and its aftermath.

With the help of those outside with means and opportunities at linking with the visiting Pope, with those in sympathy with us and supporting us in various ways in our struggles, with the general public, and with other relevant forces, we are grateful that our letters and calls have reached those concerned and have been raised loud enough to be amplified further, especially our calls for the return of our lost freedom, for the redress of the injustices committed against us and the people we have been struggling and imprisoned for, and for serious efforts towards peace.

In the meantime, for as long as we remain under threats of reprisals, foul deeds and violence against us in jail, we are determined to keep raising the issues we have been raising–our call for freedom, justice, for real solutions to social ills, for serious efforts towards peace in this country.

Political prisoners at the SICA1 Jail,
Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City
(31 January 2015)

Tirso Alcantara
Emeterio Antalan
Cesar Balmaceda
Leopoldo Caloza
Alan Jazmines
Jesus Abetria Jr.
Modesto Araza
Alex Arias
Eddie Cruz
Philip Enteria
Voltaire Guray
Fidel Holanda
Edward Lanzanas
Rolando Laylo
Eliseo Lopez
Alberto Macasinag
Jared Morales
Denis Ortiz
Hermogenes Reyes Jr.
Felicardo Salamat
Aristides Sarmiento
Cirilo Verdan
Elmer Torres