On the third year of President Duterte’s administration, relatives of political prisoners and human rights advocates gathered in front of Camp Crame in Quezon City to call for release of 532 political prisoners in the Philippines, July 10, Thursday.

The protest was part of a campaign launched by Kapatid, an association of families and friends of political prisoners, together with Karapatan and International Coalition for Human rights in the Philippines (ICHRP).

“There are 532 political prisoners in the country, 209 of them were arrested under the Duterte government. Despite the government’s malicious efforts to brand them as criminals, political prisoners are passionate, selfless and determined individuals who have lived and struggle alongside the marginalized. They are activists, advocates, trade unionists, peace consultant, development workers, teachers and church workers.” said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor.

According to Karapatan’s data, out of 532 political prisoners in the Philippines, there are 44 elderly, 61 are women, 118 are sickly, 5 were minors when they are arrested, and 10 are peace consultants of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Wife of a political prisoner

Nona Castillo, wife of political prisoner Ferdinand Castillo, also joined the protest action to free all political prisoners. Her husband was arrested February 12, 2017. Two years after, Ferdinand Castillo is still detained in Camp Bagong Diwa.

“There are other people that needs to be arrested. The Duterte government killed a lot of poor people. Duterte should be put in jail. He’s not just killing human rights workers, but also ordinary people. Just like Imelda Marcos who was proven guilty, but she’s free. Unlike these political prisoners, they’re just fighting for the rights of Filipino workers and the rights of Filipino farmers.” said Nona Castillo

Mrs. Castillo also said that the hearing of her husband is still ongoing, as she’s seeking for more help from other families of political prisoners to unite the call for the release of all political prisoners in the country.

“To the families of political prisoners, victims of killings, we can be sad and we can cry but we won’t quit the fight.” ended Mrs. Castillo

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