Dear Tatay | For fathers in prison

Children of political prisoners talked about their fathers and sent out their messages to the man who nurtured them.

Political prisoners are charged with common crimes such as murder, illegal possession of firearms and explosives, arson, among others to hide the political nature of their cases.

For those interviewed by Bulatlat, their fathers are far from being criminals and have instead dedicated their lives serving the poor and the marginalized. All of them are long-time trade union organizers in factories and government agencies.

Nikki Gamara, daughter of Renante Gamara, peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, has this to say to his father:

Makabuluhang araw ng mga tatay, sa’yo, ‘Tay, kasi tunay na makabuluhan naman talaga ang bawat araw sa’yo bilang Ama para sa amin na mga anak mo. Dahil sa mahabang panahon na bago ka pa man maikulong at kahit ikaw ay piniit, pangatlong beses na ngayon ay inilalaan mo ito para sa pagkakaroon namin ng magandang kinabukasan. Wala sigurong mas hihigit na pagbibigay kabuluhan sa pagiging Ama sa pagsisikap na mo na baguhin ‘yung lipunan na meron tayong lahat ngayon para sa pagsisiguro na magiging tunay na malaya at mapagkalinga ‘yung ginagalawang lipunan naming mga anak mo at anak ng iba pang kagaya mong manggagawa at ng iba pang mga tatay.

Proud kami kahit sa gitna ng mga panunupil, sa gitna ng kung anu-anong tagging na ginagawa ng gobyernong ito, kami ang iyong anak at ikaw ang aming tatay. Dahil kahit kailan ay ‘di naging mali ang maghanap ng hustisya at isang makatarungang lipunan. At proud din ako na ikaw ay isang mabuting halimbawa na sinisikap naming gayahin sa pinili naming mga buhay—ako bilang aktibista na rin. Umasa ka na lagi tayong magpapatuloy na magkasama sa ating shared na layunin na magkaroon ng tunay na magandang buhay para sa mga tatay at mga anak sa ating bayan.

Nikki is a full-time volunteer of Rise Up for Life and Rights, an organisation of families and supporters of victims of Duterte’s “war on drugs.”

Aprille Joy Atadero, misses her father’s sinangag at kape (fried rice and coffee) every morning. The smell used to wake her up every morning. As she said this, Aprille teased her mother, “Iiyak na yung isa d’yan!”

Aprille, 25, a law student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and a writer of Catalyst, official student publication of PUP, recalled her father’s words before his arrest eight months ago, “Mapanganib ang panahon. ‘Wag lang titigil. Ang pinakamahalaga ay lumalaban tayo.”

Ireneo is a long-time organizer of Ilaw Buklod Manggagawa (IBM), a national federation of workers of San Miguel Corporation, affiliated with Kilusang Mayo Uno.

This is her message to her father:

Salamat sa pagiging ama sa akin at sa maraming iba pa. Hindi ko naramdamang wala akong kapatid dahil sa pagtulong mo sa iba, sa pagiging ama mo sa iba.

Kala, 26 and Kai, 15, are the children of political prisoners Oliver and Rowena Rosales. Their parents are organisers of Courage, a national federation of government employees.

Kala described his father as “not the ordinary” type. Asked why, Kala said, “Di niya aakuin lahat para sa ego niya.”

Oliver does the laundry and cooking at home. He loves to experiment in the kitchen, mixing vegetables or tofu in many dishes.

Kala has this message for his father:

“Happy Father’s Day. Di naming kayo papabayaan. ‘Di kami mag-mi-miss ng dalaw every week.”

Kai, meanwhile, misses watching TV series with his father. Both of them are Game of Thrones fans.

“Di ko makakalimutan lahat ng ginawa niya para sa akin,” Kai said of his father.

(Interviews by John Mark Aaron Macaraeg and Ronalyn Olea)

The post Dear Tatay | For fathers in prison appeared first on Bulatlat.

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