Ninoy Aquino Day will again be observed on August 21, commemorating
the anniversary of the 1983 assassination of former Senator Benigno
“Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
On this occasion, the Philippines solidarity network together with
faith-based justice and peace advocates in New Zealand reiterate
appeal for Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino III to grant presidential
amnesty to all political prisoners.
“Since Aquino came to power in 2010, we have joined the international
community in challenging him to honour his father by heeding the
appeals to stop the extra-judicial killings, free political prisoners
and surface victims of involuntary disappearances,” Murray Horton,
Secretary of Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA) stated.
Last July, NZ-based Korean Pastor Kyoung Gyun Han represented the
Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand at the International
Conference for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (ICHRPP).
“It was a big conference of over 200 people from around the globe. It
is such an honour to be part of a global network including churches
actively supporting the Filipino people’s quest for justice and peace.
Coming back to New Zealand, I am committed to watch out Philippine
situation, engage in solidarity action and strengthen migrants’
ministry particularly in Auckland,” Rev. Han, who is the PCANZ Asian
Ministries Coordinator, noted.
The ICHRPP deplored the fact that far from his 2010 election promise
to deliver justice for human rights victims of past regimes, Aquino’s
3-year administration now holds a record of 142 extra-judicial
killings, 540 illegal arrests, 76 cases of torture, 30, 678 forced
evacuations, 31,417 cases of threats/harassment/intimidation, and
27,029 cases of use of schools, medical, religious and other public
places, on top the thousands more victims of past regimes
who have yet to see justice for themselves and their families.
This week, Rev. Han met with members of Auckland Philippines
Solidarity (APS) and representatives of the Presbyterian Church of
Aotearoa New Zealand and The Methodist Church about action plans to
support justice and peace quest in the Philippines. In solidarity with
victims’ families, they made paper cranes (Japanese origami) in
support of the campaign to Surface James Balao and all victims of
Based on the ancient Japanese legend that anyone who folds a thousand
origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane, APS started making
paper cranes to express support for all the families awaiting the
return of their loved ones who have been abducted by state agents.