Are we refusing to see something very visible?
Last Dec. 3, we commemorated the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners. We remembered and paid tribute to the many activists and advocates imprisoned for crimes they did not commit and because they opposed the dictatorship and denounced irregularities in government. They also advocated genuine land reform, helped educate indigenous peoples, fought against capitalism and sought redress of social ills. And despite the dangers they and their families faced because of their antidictatorship activities, they asserted and exercised the freedoms guaranteed them by the Philippine Constitution.
Today, the struggle for democratic rights, particularly for the rights of the marginalized and underrepresented sectors, continues. But I believe the lies and fabrications that have been thrown our way, have blinded us from seeing the truth. Or could it be that we simply refuse to see the very apparent and continuing oppression here at home and at the international level?
In Southern Mindanao, since the Arroyo administration, Karapatan has recorded 35 individuals taken into government custody for their political beliefs. Also in jail are 14 consultants of the National Democratic Front (NDF); they are supposedly entitled to immunity from arrest and detention under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees that has the government and NDF as signatories.
Recently, a group called for the release of a political prisoner who has been in jail since Oct. 16.
Dominiciano “Dioning” Muya, based on records, is an agriculturist and an organic staff of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines. He is a community developer and an advocate of the rights and welfare of the lumad whom he is helping practice sustainable agriculture. He was one of the people behind the establishment of the Salugpungan learning centers which serve as schools for the Talaingod-Manobo children “encamped” by the military forces.
He was arrested for robbery, damage to property, multiple murder and double frustrated murder. Due to Muya’s detention in jail, a number of projects meant to benefit indigenous peoples, including the construction of classrooms, have been delayed.
Muya and his family feel harassed, threatened and stressed by his arrest and detention. Being the daughter of a former political detainee, I can imagine the trauma and the fear hounding them. I wish them the strength and courage they need to overcome this very daunting challenge in their lives.
Stop the oppression of activists and revolutionaries who are fighting for economic, political and social change! They are not criminals. Release Dominiciano Muya! Free all political prisoners, NOW!—LEAH LIBRADO, councilor, 1st District, Davao City
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