Statement of Batangas Political Detainees for SONA 2015

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President Aquino is on his way towards his very last SONA or State of the Nation Address. His final SONA for the year 2015 – on the last year of his term will culminate the six years of his presidency, and his very last opportunity to parade and showcase the so-called triumphs and achievements of his “tuwid na daan” facade.  But of course, we the political prisoners of Batangas, along with the Filipino people under his regime know that the SONA 2015 will be, yet again, another one of those deceitful theatrical performances that PBSA knows so well.

The Filipino people have suffered long enough. And disappointingly, the last year of Aquino’s term shows no light of any significant social and economic change that we have so longed for. Last year, Aquino has boasted several of his programs that supposedly lifted the poor conditions of the Filipinos. He proudly conveyed improvements by adding more job opportunities for Filipino workers, improved the educational system through his K-12 program, enhanced foreign relations through the EDCA, ameliorated the lives of the people by his 4Ps program and Expanded Conditional Cash Transfer Program, boasted the modernization of the AFP, among others.

But we all know too well that all of these are nothing but the same old lies and deceit, similar to an old record that his administration has played over and over again. And yet again the truth and the concrete conditions that the country has been suffering from will never be covered up by more than an hour of blabber by his State of the Nation Address.

For the truth of the matter is: the country continues to suffer from its chronic state from a semi-feudal and semi-colonial system, that imprisons the people from a pitiful economic condition chained in foreign control and domination.

Looking back at his last year, we shake our heads in much dismay for the poor performance that Aquino has been showing. Aquino has not improved any aspect of the living conditions of the country rather; it has worsened and has come to its most rotten form. The Filipino people continue to suffer from the lack of jobs, and suffer even more from exploitative policies like what the workers of Tanduay and Kentex experienced. Migrant Filipino workers suffer as well from degrading, abusive and discriminative working conditions overseas, even to the extent of being a part of the death row in some countries, just like what Mary Jane Veloso experienced. Even in the line of Aquino’s armed forces showcased an internal scrabble like the victims of the SAF44 where 44 troopers of the PNP-SAF where blindly pushed to battle, like fish used for bait in an encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao by its PNP officials. Students all over the country undergo hardships from the continuous implementation several policies that leads to commercialization of education like the K-12 program and are deprived from a quality education due to state university and public school budget cuts. Ordinary Filipinos continue to be stripped of from their basic rights like health service, and bereaved from the basic needs like water, electricity, food, education, and transportation because of deregularization and privitization of basic commodities all because of the administration’s neglect to listen to the cries of the people, leaving all of us in deep rage, pushing us to assert on to a higher level our fight for our rights.

Accordingly, all of these lead to even more abuses and violations. And a peek at our human rights situation reflects how Aquino answers to to the calls of the people. As expected, the number of human rights violations has also increased, yet alone the number of political prisoners languishing in several prison cells all over the country increased into 528, where in 17 are NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) consultants, including a number of women, elderly, and sickly political prisoners. Hundreds of lumads, and other indigenous tribes in the countryside continues to suffer from displacement, desecration of their traditions, murders, militarization and harassment because of the AFP’s Oplan Bayanihan. Leaders of progressive organizations are brutally harassed, followed, imprisoned, or murdered all for their assertion for the protection of human rights. And up to the very last year, Aquino administration shows no sign of interest in presuming the peace negotiations between the GPH and the NDFP. With all these being said, who can say that the Aquino regime has indeed “…return the government to its rightful mandate, to serve the Filipino people always…” as what Aquino had said on his previous SONA?

Needless to say, the Aquino administration, has yet again, failed to fulfill his duties as a president to this country. Therefore, we, the political detainees in Batangas vehemently condemn Aquino for its straight neglect in answering to the people’s call for justice, truth, and freedom. We denounce Aquino for disposing its government to a pro-imperialist, foreign dominated policies instead of inclining into a more pro-people, pro-Filipino governance.

On the last SONA of President Aquino, we call for truth, transparency and accountability. We call on Aquino to speak of the truth and act on, immediately for genuine social change. We also challenge Aquino to step forward in creating concrete decisions towards peace by pursuing the presumption of the peace negotiations between the NDFP and GPH, release all political prisoners as a gesture of its sincerity and respect for the existing agreements signed by previous administrations of his government. We demand that Aquino prosecute all violators of human rights, act on the calls of the people for their basic rights and put an end to all unpatriotic, anti-national and anti-filipino policies that this country has been suffering from for years. If Aquino if truly determined, nothing will be seem impossible even on his last year of his term, as long as he chooses the side of the people.

Lastly, the Batangas political detainees calls on to the Filipino people to move and join the People’s SONA, step up and be not afraid to join the call for justice along side with the thousands of Filipino people who struggle for our democratic rights. Though we continue to be imprisoned, rest assured that the Batangas PP’s militant resolve will transcend through the bars and walls of the prison cells that we are in and will unite with our fellow political detainees and with the people on the streets!

FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS! FREE ALL BATANGAS POLITICAL PRISONERS! JOIN THE PEOPLE’S SONA! OUST AQUINO!

Batangas Political Detainees:

  • Romiel Canete
  • Ronilo Baes
  • Maricon Montajes
  • Albert Custodio
  • Junver Tirasol
  • Jay-r Manalo
  • Jimuel Velasco
  • Franco Romeroso

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(photos taken last 23 July 2015 during the coordinated singing of “Bayan Ko” and discussion with some 30 inmates including the Batangas political detainees)

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