Last Friday, 24th of February, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Presidential Proclamation No. 1017 placing the whole country under the State of National Emergency. This unconstitutional and immoral decree has placed the entire nation under martial rule.
Under direct orders from the Presidential Palace, violent dispersals of peaceful assemblies, police raids of newspaper publications critical of the administration, and warrant-less arrests of prominent political personalities from the progressive political parties were conducted.
The following day, veteran labor leader and Parliamentarian Rep. Crispin Beltran of Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) Party was arrested near his farmhouse in Central Luzon by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police, by virtue of an arrest warrant that was issued more than 20 years ago. He was being charged of inciting to rebellion. Today morning, human rights activist and Parliament member, Rep. Joel Virador of Bayan Muna (People First) Party was also arrested without warrant by CIDG operatives.
An international campaign for the immediate and unconditional release of Reps. Beltran and Virador and other political detainees and the repeal of Proclamation No. 1017 was launched as the Filipino people face another martial rule this time under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime.
Together with Reps. Beltran and Virador, other people's parliamentarians like Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna Party, Rep. Liza Maza of Gabriela Women's Party and Rep. Rafael Mariano also of Anakpawis were recently included in a list of 51 people being charged "with inciting to rebellion" by the Department of Justice .
In response to these threats to civil liberties and suppression of democratic rights of the Filipino people, we are calling on all political activists, trade unionists, women's organizations, students and youth activists, civil libertarians, human rights advocates and all peace loving people in Hong Kong to extend solidarity and join us in this campaign. You can do all or any of the following to express your support:
1. Join the Protest Action this coming Wednesday (March 1) and other future solidarity actions related to this campaign, bring your banners and placards;
2. Send or co-sign support letter to the office of the Philippine President and other relevant government departments to call for the immediate release of Reps. Beltran and Virador and other political detainees. We also urge you to call for the repeal of the Proclamation 1017 and for the government to uphold civil and political rights of the people (sample letter bellow);
3. Organize solidarity actions including forums and discussions in support of the struggle of the Filipino people against the fascist Arroyo government; and
4. Extend financial and material support to the campaign.
If you wish to have more details, please feel free to contact the undersigned or Eman Villanueva (97585935), Ramon Bultron (94773141) and Rey Asis (95889491).
Yours in solidarity,
Dolores T. Balladares
This campaign is jointly organized by:
United FIlipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK)
International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS) - Hong Kong
Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB)
Asian Students Association (ASA)
Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)
** We welcome other groups who wish to be part of the organizers.
We strongly protest the unjustified arrest and detention of Parliament members Crispin Beltran and Joel Virador. This action is patently a violation of the right to legitimate dissent and their immunity to arrest as a members of Congress while this is in session.. We urge you to immediately release them and to desist from further carrying out measures that restrict the democratic rights of the people.
We are aware that the constitutionality and legality of Proclamation 1017 are being challenged by members of the Philippine Senate, who have cited non-compliance with the limits and restraints on the use of extraordinary powers.
We remind you that the Philippine Government is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments. Thus it is bound to observe all provisions of the said instruments.
You may send your communications to:
H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic of the Philippines
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462
E-mail: [email protected] / [email protected]
Hon. Avelino J. Cruz, Jr.
Secretary of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue
Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488
Fax:+63(2) 911 6213
Hon. Purificacion Valera Quisumbing
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Diliman, Quezon City
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: [email protected]