Statement of the Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights

Justice to All Victims of Human Rights Violations!
Freedom for All Political Prisoners Now!

Today, July 23, 2012, the President of the Philippines will deliver the State of the Nation (SONA) address in Congress amidst heavy guard and security. President Benigno Aquino III will sum up the accomplishments of the government in the past year and outline this year’s priorities of his government.

In the wake of the People’s SONA, the Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR) stands in solidarity with the Filipino people in their coordinated protest action against a repressive government and in their declaration of the People’s State of the Nation.

The People’s SONA will expose the real state of the nation that President Aquino himself refuses to address and chooses to ignore. His counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan breeds extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arrest and detention, and other forms of human rights violations while the military and other state agents go unpunished. His economic policies continue to make the people poor and hungry while it lines the pockets of the big local and foreign interests. His foreign policies have diminished Philippine national sovereignty with the continued presence of US troops on Philippine soil. His continued subservience to foreign economic interests have resulted in the plunder of the country’s natural wealth and resources and the desecration of the national patrimony. His administration has seen the highest number of Filipinos leaving the country to work as overseas Filipino workers. This is the state of the people, the state of the 99% while the elite, subservient to foreign interests, makes a profit at the expense of the people’s interests, rights and welfare.

We urge the Aquino administration to implement UN recommendations on the elimination of extrajudicial executions and to direct all military officers to cease making public statements linking political or other civil society groups to those engaged in armed insurgencies.

We note with apprehension the continued practice of detaining political dissenters and charging them with criminal offenses. The criminalization of political prisoners serves well the Aquino government’s position that there are no political prisoners; this is reminiscent of the declaration of the past dictator Marcos that there were no political prisoners then. It is apparent that the Aquino government has taken its lessons from the dictatorship.

We support and work for the demand of a general, unconditional, and omnibus amnesty to all political prisoners. It is from the collective struggle of the people that basic changes will be made. It is from this same struggle that the political prisoners will be freed. The Filipino people, contrary to Aquino’s rhetoric that under his administration “ Filipinos can now dream again”, has not only kept the dream of a just and prosperous society for all, they have continued to struggle and fight for it.

Justice to All Victims of Human Rights Violations!
Free all Political Prisoners Now!
Stop Oplan Bayanihan, End militarization!
Long live international solidarity!


The Canada Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights
Vancouver, BC Canada
23 July 2012

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