One hundred political prisoners in Negros Island will hold a 24-hour fast on December 10, the 74th anniversary of International Human Rights Day, to call on the Marcos government for their release.

According to the KAPATID-Negros Occidental chapter, there are now 141 political prisoners in both Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental provinces. They are among the 828 political prisoners in the country.

Among the 141 political prisoners in Negros are:

  • Five activists of the Negros 57 were arrested on October 31, 2019 in simultaneous operations in Bacolod and Escalante cities through search warrants of Quezon City Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos Villavert. They are Karina Mae Dela Cerna (National Deputy Secretary General of the National Network of Agrarian Reform Advocates or NNARA Youth), her parents Albert (part-time organizer of Teatro Bungkal) and Maria Pilar Dela Cerna (part-time community worker), and activists Imelda Sultan and Lindy Perocho of the Northern Negros Alliance of Human Rights (NNAHRA) based in Escalante City.
  • Former Anakbayan-Negros Regional Chairperson Harlyn Balora, arrested on February 2022 while conducting follow-up investigation on Typhoon Odette victims in Isabela town, 
  • Former Kabataan Partylist Vice-Chairperson for the Visayas and UP Cebu cum laude graduate Carmen Jonahville Martalo, arrested on March 18, 2022 while doing research on the Danding Cojuangco estate in Himamaylan City
  • Wilmar “Verdy” Pongasi, arrested on October 2, 2020 in Moises Padilla town while on his way to look into the impact of prolonged COVID-19 related lockdowns on rural communities in Negros Oriental
  • activist Gaspar Davao, a survivor of the infamous 1985 Escalante Massacre and longtime paralegal for Bungkalan struggles that over the years benefited thousands of farm workers, arrested on June 9, 2020)
  • Joel Guillero, spokesperson of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) North Negros, Leon Charita of NFSW-Toboso chapter, and Bienvenido Ducay of NFSW-Escalante chapter, all arrested on September 18, 2019 while conducting a recorida preparatory to the 34th year commemoration of the Escalante Massacre; 
  • Francisco Laza, chairperson of the Danao River Fisherfolks Association or DARIFA in Escalante
  • Himamaylan 7 comprising peasants and indigenous peoples, arrested on June 26, 2019 after being falsely accused in connection with the 2018 ambush of army troopers. The group includes Jimmy Teves, a pastor to over 400 faithful in the hinterland chapels of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines (UCCP) in Brgy. Buenavista, Himamaylan City
  • Wilfredo Arellano, Sandalo Mongolores and William Taourullan of the Guihulngan City District Jail have been detained since 2007, and are currently the longest-held political prisoners in Negros island

The 24-hour fasting of political prisoners will call for justice for slain human rights defenders. 

There were more than 110 victims of extrajudicial killings in Negros during the previous Rodrigo Duterte administration. Among them are: 

  • Elisa Badayos of KARAPATAN Negros Oriental, shot dead in 2017 in Bayawan City during an agrarian-related fact-finding mission 
  • Atty. Ben Ramos, secretary general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) in Negros Occidental, executed in 2018 in Kabankalan City
  • City Councilor Toto Patigas, secretary general of NNAHRA, shot dead in 2019 in Escalante City
  •  Zara Alvarez of Karapatan Negros Occidental, shot dead in 2020 in Bacolod City

KAPATID-Negros Occidental also called for an immediate and thorough investigation into the brutal slaying of peasant organizer Joseph Jimenez and National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant Ericson Acosta last November 30 in Kabankalan City.

The national organization of KAPATID called for support and solidarity by joining the protest fasting. The group advised that liquids can be taken along with bread and biscuits or a light meal, especially for the sick and elderly. Medicines for the sick must be continuously taken. 

“Gandhi originally started the hunger strike, one form of which is fasting, as a method of nonviolent resistance in which participants abstain from food or limit their food as an act of political protest,” shared KAPATID.


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