We celebrate with our sisters and our people the release of political prisoner Andrea Rosal for she deserves to be free. At the same time, we call for an end to Oplan Bayanihan that has resulted to increase in political prisoners and unbelievable acts of violence against women in the margins.
This was declared today by Shiela Tebia, chairperson of GABRIELA-HK, as Andrea Rosal, daughter of late communist leader Roger Rosal, was finally released yesterday after the charges for murder and, beforehand, kidnapping, were dropped due to lack of evidence.
“Thanks to the hard work of lawyers, human rights advocates and women’s groups, and especially the determination of Andrea herself despite the personal tragedy of losing her newborn child, Andrea’s freedom after two years of incarceration has shown that there is no truth to charges against her. Like other political prisoners, Andrea was repressed and harassed just so they can stop her political activism,” Tebia said.
According to Tebia, there are currently 527 political prisoners in the country of which 252 were arrested under the Aquino administration (as of March 2015). Among them are 48 women political prisoners including Wilma Tiamzon and Concha Araneta.
“Our call to free our sisters remain as we also call to end Oplan Bayanihan that has resulted to severe violations to the rights of people and Filipino women. This is being shown most concretely at present by the atrocities committed against the lumads (indigenous people) of Mindanao,” Tebia remarked.
Tebia said that the reported rape of a 14-year old lumad by soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the death of a 4-yr old girl child in the evacuation centre after her community fled due to military and paramilitary attacks were some examples of how women doubly perish from military operations of the state.
“Oplan Bayanihan is a murderous program as shown recently by the deaths of lumad leaders and Emerito Samarca, head of a recognised alternative learning institution for lumads, in Surigao del Sur. It does not only target activists but whole communities,” she said.
Tebia called for an end to the said counterinsurgency program. She said that victims of the said program still wait for justice like others who perished under previous administrations.
“We say stop killing lumads and end impunity. Filipino women have been suffering enough and the different and intensified violence against us and our people must stop,” Tebia concluded.
Tel. No.: (852) 9013 1542
GABRIELA Hong Kong
c/o MFMW, St. John’s Cathedral,
4 Garden Rd., Central, Hong Kong SAR
Tel. (852) 2522-8261 Fax. 2735-4559