GABRIELA USA Condemns the Illegal Arrest of NDFP Consultants Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria


March 25, 2014

Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA,

GABRIELA USA, a Filipino women’s alliance that consists of member organizations in Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles condemns in the strongest terms the illegal arrest of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria by the Aquino regime’s security forces.

Tiamzon and Austria were investigating the conditions of the people in the Visayas region hit by super typhoon Yolanda. Both were arrested on trumped up charges while serving in the communities that are still struggling in rehabilitation. The people continue to suffer from President  Benigno Aquino III regime’s anti-people, corrupt and grossly inefficient response to the calamity. “Wilma Austria has advocated for the rights of women, unlike Noy Noy Aquino who has done nothing to alleviate the suffering of women due to his ineptitude. His administration has collaborated with US Imperialism to enrich itself at the expense and oppression of its own people,”  says Irma Bajar, Vice Chair of International Relations of GABRIELA USA.

Tiamzon and Austria are National Democratice Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Consultants who have fulfilled and are fulfilling highly significant tasks in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.  Both are holders of the NDFP Document of Identification under Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), which protects them from surveillance, harassment and arrest. “The arrests in Cebu on March 22nd of the peace consultants clearly violate the JASIG, signed by the government and the NDFP and threatens the ability of the peace talks to move forward. This shows that Aquino is not genuine in his efforts to uphold JASIG and a true peace process,” says Valerie Francisco, Chairperson of GABRIELA USA.

The arrest of the NDFP consultants is illegal and clearly violates the rights of Tiamzon and Austria. GABRIELA USA strongly demands that Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria be immediately released and unconditionally.

Release Wilma Austria And Benito Tiamzon!

Resume the peace talks with the NDFP Now!

Free all Political Prisoners Now!

Long Live The People’s Struggle!