Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its strongest solidarity and support for hunger striking political prisoners in the Philippines, and sends its deepest condolences to the people’s movement in the Philippines on the death of Eduardo Serrano, political prisoner who died on 8 January 2016.
Serrano, a peasant leader and a peace consultant to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, a coalition of revolutionary leftist unions, organizations and alliances, died shortly before he was expected to be released. He had served 11 years in prison, accused of being a commander in the New People’s Army, the rebel armed force of the Communist Party of the Philippines. However, he was finally cleared of various charges against him last year, and one court ordered his “:immediate release.”
He was one of 561 political prisoners in the Philippines, and among 19 imprisoned peace consultants to the NDF, in violation of agreements between the government of the Philippines and the NDF.
KARAPATAN, the Alliance for Advancement of People’s Rights, which struggles to free political prisoners in the Philippines, wrote that “While in jail, as a true servant of the people, he assisted inmates with their ailments through acupuncture. He initiated a number of prison reforms and established a cooperative store. He gave paralegal advice to inmates and jail guards alike…With high respect, Karapatan salutes Ka Eddik for standing up for the rights of the farmers and Mangyan tribe in Southern Tagalog, specifically in the island of Mindoro and in the Quezon-Bicol regions. The Government of the Philippines robbed 11 years of Eduardo Serrano’s life with them.”
Political Prisoners at the Special Intensive Care Area 1, Camp Bajong Diwa; Taguig City Jail; and New Bilibid Prisons Maximum Security started a five-day hunger strike in protest of the imprisonment of Eduardo Serrano and the 11 years of injustice against him. At least other imprisoned NDF peace consltants are joining the strikes, and more actions inside the jails are expected in the next days to honor and call for justice for Serrano.
In Palestine and the Philippines, political prisoners are on the front lines of struggle for justice and liberation for their people, confronting imperialism, exploitation and occupation. And in both countries, imprisoned strugglers suffer medical neglect and crisis while being imprisoned for struggling for the freedom of their people. From Maysara Abu Hamdieh to Ja’afar Awad, from Eduardo Serrano to Alison Alcantara, their lives were taken by imprisonment and medical neglect.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network reiterates the call to free all political prisoners, from Palestine to the Philippines, and joins the call for justice for Eduardo Serrano. We salute the memory and the struggle of Eduardo Serrano, who joins the long list of martyrs for liberation whose lives were taken inside the jails of the oppressor.