Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)

Philippines

Email: tfdp.1974@gmail.com

Website: http://www.tfdp.net

Tel: +63-24378054 /9950246 Fax: +63-9113643

Contact person:
Emmanuel Amistad (Executive Director): ecamistad@yahoo.com

About:

TFDP began under a dictatorial regime. In the late 1960s, there was increased people’s action and struggle against the unjust economic and political order in the Philippines. At that time, only the elite decided the fate of the peoples and the nation, while the majority lived in misery and did not participate in the making of decisions affecting their lives.

It was in 1974 that the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the
Philippines (AMRSP) established the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) to assist political prisoners, at a time when most organisations were banned. The AMRSP reflected on a survey which showed the presence of political prisoners in all regions of the country. The political detainees, most of who were subjected to torture, had families who were placed under surveillance and from whom money was extorted purportedly to facilitate better treatment and/or their release from detention.

TFDP then provided moral and spiritual support to the political prisoners, assisted them in their material needs, documented their situation as well as worked for their just trial and quick release. Prisoners, on various occasions, conducted hunger strikes to push for better jail conditions and immediate actions for their release. TFDP was always present with support. Relatives were eager to have sisters or nuns with them when visiting the detainees in the jails, since it seemed that some respect to the nun’s habit still prevailed in the military ranks.

Although TFDP started as a response specifically among Catholics in political detention, many Protestants, Muslims and even non-believers later joined it and participated in its work for political prisoners. TFDP’s experience with prisoners attracted supporters and drew many others to the organisations vision, mission and commitment.

What started primarily as work for political prisoners in Manila gradually became activities not only for political prisoners but for victims of other civil and political rights violations in all the regions of the country. Thus, TFDP became a national human rights institution documenting human rights violations, assisting the victims in their material and legal needs as well as campaigning against human rights abuses and the structures and policies that caused them.

TFDP also conducted human rights education activities to help empowering people to assert their rights, in particular and to uphold, defend and protect human rights in general. It also produced alternative publications, among others TFDP Update, Lusong and Pumipiglas, which documented the human rights situation. Komiks, an illustrated
magazine began in 1989 to depict the human rights situation in popular local slang.

TFDP joined hands with victims of human rights violations and their relatives, workers, students, and other church-people, peasants and other democratic forces in the country in the struggles for human rights and democracy.

Address:

No. 45 Saint Mary Street, Cubao, Quezon City 1109 Philippines