Workers welcome the granting of Motion for Release on Bail for NDFP consultants and labor rights defenders Adelberto Silva, Rafael Baylosis, and Benito and Wilma Tiamzon by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32. We hope that this would pave the way for their immediate release from unjust and illegal detention.
Their release would be a step forward in the resumption of the long-stalled peace talks between the government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The Tiamzons, Silva and Baylosis play crucial roles in drafting an agreement on socio-economic reforms that would address the roots of armed conflict in the country.
We are also hopeful that motions for release of the other NDFP consultants and labor rights defenders namely Renante Gamara and Ernesto Lorenzo be also granted immediately. The release of labor rights advocates among the NDFP consultants is vital in raising workers’ issues and demands in the peace talks which is set to resume on August 20.
However, we insist that the Tiamzons, Silva, Baylosis, Gamara, Lorenzo and other NDFP consultants and labor rights defenders are not criminals. They were illegally and unjustly detained for advocating and defending workers’ and people’s rights and aspirations for genuine development, freedom and peace.
The illegal and unjust detention of NDFP consultants also violates previously signed agreements between the GPH and the NDFP particularly the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHIHL) and the recently signed Oslo Joint Statement of June 15, 2016.
We demand that the trumped-up charges against NDFP consultants and labor rights defenders be junked and their release be deemed permanent. They have already suffered enough injustice inside prison cells for too long. We also demand the release of all political prisoners. Prolonging their incarceration is condoning injustice which violates FIlipino workers and people’s aspiration for peace based on justice.