BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
In line with the commemoration of the 50th year anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines, progressive groups in Negros Occidental yesterday launched Kaisahan ng mga Kapatid, Kapamilya, Kaibigan ng mga Bilanggong Politikal-Negros to help provide assistance to political detainees in the province.
Bayan Negros spokesperson Noli Rosales yesterday said there are about 75 political detainees in the different district jails in the province, with the biggest number found at the Negros Occidental District Jail in Bago City.
Rosales said they want to help provide political detainees with financial assistance, medical attention, food, and legal assistance especially since no lawyer would want to accommodate members of progressive organizations due to harassment or fear of being killed.
The launching of Kapatid-Negros is one way to pressure the government to provide political detainees legal assistance and help them get medical treatment and better food provision inside the jails, he said, adding that “We know that the cases they are facing are trumped-up charges which take time to get resolved because of the delay in the hearings.”
The activity yesterday was spearheaded by Human Rights Advocates Negros, Bayan Negros and its sectoral affiliates, and September 21 Alliance.
Meanwhile, Rosales said the recent pronouncement President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. glorifying the former dictator and viewing human rights abuses as collateral damage of war is disturbing and morally inept.
Marcos Jr. also promised to continue the National Task Force End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) who were notorious for red tagging and vilification and in fact, also increased its fund allocation in the 2023 national budget, he said.
Rosales said they calling on the administration to review and junk ELCAC which they believe will only terrorize farmers and workers.
There were 107,200 victims during the martial rule of which 3,200 were extrajudicially killed, 34,000 tortured, 70,000 imprisoned and 898 enforced disappearances, according to Amnesty International, a press release from Bayan-Negros, HRAN and September 21 Alliance, said.*