Free all Political prisoners in the Philippines.’

Progressive OFWs headed by Migrante chapters worldwide commenced this online petition to gather support from OFWs and families. The signatures will be collated and will be submitted to the Secretariat of the Free Ericson Acosta Campaign.

Fellow OFWs, we are counting your signature and your support signifies a lot in our struggle for justice for all victims of state-sponsored terror and persecution of peace-loving and freedom-fighter -social, political and cultural activists like of Ericson Acosta and many more who are languishing in Philippine prisons.

Below is the Statement by the Free Ericson Acosta Campaign issued on April 15, 2011.

Who is Ericson Acosta and why is a National Artist calling for his immediate release from detention? National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera today led artists, journalists, members of the academe and human rights advocates in the public launching of the Free Ericson Acosta Campaign.

Last February 13 in San Jorge, Samar, members of the AFP’s 34th IB arrested cultural worker Ericson Acosta on mere suspicion that he is a member of the New People’s Army (NPA).

He was unarmed and was in the company of a local barangay official when he was arrested without warrant. He was held for three days without charges and was subjected to continuous tactical interrogation by the military. He has been charged with illegal possession of explosives and is detained at the Calbayog sub-provincial jail. Handling his defense is a legal team from the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), led by Atty. Jun Oliva and Atty. Rey Cortez. (ReadAcosta's counter-affidavit)

Acosta is a former UP activist. During the ‘90s, he served as editor of the Philippine Collegian, UP’s official student publication. He was former chairperson of the student cultural group Alay Sining, former chair of the campus alliance STAND-UP and member of the UP Amnesty International.

Acosta edited the Philippine Collegian’s groundbreaking F1 Literary Folio, where his poem “And So Your Poetry Must” first appeared. He acted in several theater productions in UP, including the UP Repertory Company’s “Sa Sariling Bayan” directed by Soxy Topacio; Dulaang UP’s “Green Bird,” directed by the late Ogie Juliano; and “Monumento,” which he wrote and directed. He also played the lead role of Andres Bonifacio in this multi-media production by the UP Alay Sining. Acosta also wrote several patriotic songs for the activist cultural group.

He has worked in the media as segment writer for ABS-CBN’s Wanted TV Patrol and assistant entertainment section editor of the Manila Times. His works as a poet and songwriter have remained relevant especially to the succeeding generations of activists in and out of the university. He helped in the reestablishment of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) during EDSA II, and has worked closely with the peasant sector. His bias for the poor and oppressed dates back to his campus days.

Acosta's plight is no different from artists like Lumbera, Bonifacio Ilagan, Jun Cruz Reyes and Axel Pinpin who were also incarcerated, persecuted and harassed for their political beliefs.

The Free Ericson Acosta Campaign is spearheaded by Acosta’s former colleagues from the UP Philippine Collegian, UP Alay Sining and UP Amnesty International, as well as his former schoolmates from St. Mary’s College, UST High School, his family and friends.

The campaign started when friends started posting personal testimonies about Acosta in their blogs and Facebook accounts, immediately after they became aware of his illegal arrest and detention in February. The campaign now maintains the Facebook page “Free Ericson Acosta,” and a campaign blog (www.freeacosta.blogspot.com).#