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    43 for the 43

    For reference:    Dolores Balladares Norman Uy Carnay
    UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK Chairperson             BAYAN-HK spokesperson
    Tel. No.: 97472986                                         Tel. No.: 96472567

    Forty-three HK OFWs stand up to free Morong 43

    In a show of support, 43 OFWs in Hong Kong wearing placards saying “Support the hunger strike! Free the Morong 43 Now!” stood at Chater Road in Hong Kong and held a 43-minute program urging Filipino migrants in Hong Kong to back the call for the immediate release of the jailed health workers collectively known as Morong 43.

    “Like our brothers and sisters, we too are hungry for justice. Their arrest was illegal and the charges were obviously trumped up. President Aquino should order the prosecution to drop the case, let go of the Morong 43 and take to justice those who perpetrated this condemnable human rights violation,” said Dolores Balladares, chairperson of the militant United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK).

    The action, Balladares said, was conducted to show support to the Morong 43 who started a hunger strike last Friday, December 3. The strike is being supported by relatives of the jailed health workers and advocates for human rights.

    “They have been tortured and the past 10 months have surely traumatized them. Even the Department of Justice and the President himself have admitted the irregularities of the arrest. The injustice against the Morong 43 must end,” she added.

    BAYAN-HK spokesperson Norman Uy Carnay, meanwhile, reported that the action was the first in a series of protests they will conduct on the human rights situation in the Philippines. The actions, he said, will be held together with local organizations in Hong Kong under the banner of the Hong Kong Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines or HKCAHRPP.

    “On December 9, local people in Hong Kong from different professions and affiliations will hold actions that will highlight the various human rights problems in the Philippines such as extrajudicial killings, lack of justice for the victims of the Maguindanao Massacre, refusal to release political prisoners, the penchant of the military to file trumped up charges against activists like what they did to the Morong 43, enforced disappearance, and the blatant disrespect to life such as the indiscriminate firing that killed renowned environmentalist Leonard Co,” Carnay relayed.

    Carnay said that President Aquino’s human rights record does not indicate significant improvements from the past administration’s “criminal regime”.

    “The case of the Morong 43 shows that the Aquino government is not being decisive in turning the tide for human rights in the country. In fact, KARAPATAN’s report of a rise in number of victims of extrajudicial killings since Aquino assumed the presidency is a cause for serious alarm,” Carnay stated.

    Finally, Balladares concluded that they will encourage more OFWs and their families to support the hunger strike of the Morong 43.

    “Their release is one positive step for human rights that the Aquino government should take. He must act now or his administration will be known the same way as its predecessor – a murderer of people’s rights,” she said.

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