Philippines: Sarah Abellon-Alikes’ Message On International Working Women’s Day

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    Let me express my heartfelt gratitude to all who, in one way or another, made the ordeal I just went through bearable.

    The Philippine Episcopal Church family was quick, straightforward and strong in its position and support both while I was in detention, and through the period after my release, even up to this moment.   I felt the support and concern from various levels of the Church Institution and from members of the Church as well.  For that, I will be ever grateful, and, proud to be an Episcopalian.

    To my friends, classmates and kakailian:  thank you for the prayers and messages of support.  To those who went out of their way to visit, my deep gratitude.  You dared.  That meant much.  Despite the long period of not seeing each other, bad times brought to cross, roads long untread, and with warmth that defied the previous long silence and distance.  To  those who took care of my kids and family through those crucial days, you are family.  You are special.  Thank you.

    To my family:  thank you for standing by me.   In detention where faced with what seemed then as numerous unknowns – arrested, bodily searched and belongings confiscated without any warrant, no case filed against me for almost 36 hours, no food ’til lunch at 3:20pm, no visitors for several hours, whisked out of the arresting police station while deprived of right to inform kin or lawyer of my whereabouts,  and bracing for more uncertainties –  the first sight of family and the messages and support that ensued, did bring comfort to the beleaguered.  Thank you, everyone.   My love and gratitude.

    To my colleagues in the NGO community and in the people’s movement for fundamental social change:  Saludo!  Heaps of thanks for the comradely support.  Because of your efficiency, I, my co-accused and my family did not feel alone.  I was touched by the rush of support from the sectors, communities and provinces.  The experience, though short, brings to fore again the correctness of serving the people.  In a society where rights are not guaranteed, where not even laws can protect the downtrodden and marginalized, it is but right that more of society join the throng for the struggle for a just, peaceful and progressive world.  Let us not be daunted, then, by threats of incarceration or fascism.  Difficult times call for firmer resolve, and wiser but careful moves.  Thank you for the support, the sacrifices, and most of all, the courage and steadfastness.  We shall overcome!

    To my lawyer and other friends in the legal community – I toss my hat for the timely responses, and for going out of your way to assure, visit and keep our spirits up, not to mention the legal support that mattered much in the situation.

    To the members of the Philippine National Police, and even the AFP, who did what they could to accord me and my co-detainees our rights, and made detention less tortuous, your efforts are truly recognized and appreciated.  God bless you.  May you continue to be humane and sensitive to the rights and welfare of others; and may your kind increase.

    To those in the PNP and AFP, and their cohorts, who deliberately strove to make it hard for me and my co-accused, your efforts, too, have not gone unnoticed.  May God spare your families from the consequences of your acts.  May you learn your lessons fast.   For God does not sleep.

    To those who have subjected me to political persecution – may the God of Truth and Justice shed light on you that the goodness in your persons shine greater than the influence of darkness.

    I have been released on bail.  I continue to declare my innocence of the accusations foiled against me.  While I do not believe in the characterization by the military establishment of the NPA as criminals, I do not consider myself worthy of what sound as noble positions my accusers would like the public to believe I hold.

    The court battle is yet to begin.  For how long the process will take, I do not know.  But on the battleground of justice and of truth against oppression and falsehood, only one flag shall stand victorious.  And that shall be ours.  Thank you again for holding on to that flag with me.

    However, the struggle for a just and peaceful society is far from over.  I hope you will continue to be there in this journey – mine and that of others who deserve to be freed from shackles by instrumentalities of social injustice – our journey.

    Today, on the International Working Women’s Day, I salute all women who continue to fight for people’s rights here and all over the world.  The presence and militant participation of women throughout difficult and challenging times continues to be exemplary.

    Let us persist to work for social justice wherever and whenever we can, and participate in the peace process.  In this light, l enjoin all to work for the release of all political prisoners.  Let us push for the resumption of the stalled peace negotiations between the GPH and the NDFP.  Let not the gains achieved so far, and the prospective gains, be put to waste.  Let us, together, work for just and lasting peace.

    May God shower you the blessings you deserve.

    My profound gratitude.

    Humbly,
    Sarah Abellon-Alikes
    08March2017

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