Free Vanessa delos Reyes, a Deltan Warrior by Ruben Felipe

Free Vanessa delos Reyes, a Deltan Warrior

by Ruben Felipe

Vanessa delos Reyes, 27 years of age and a Pi Sigma Deltan from Davao City, exemplifies great courage and resilience. Physically incapacitated and wheelchair-bound, sis Vanessa is currently confined under heavy guard at the Southern Philippines Medical Center Davao City, receiving medical attention for gunshot wounds to the spine.

The fourth of five children, sis Vanessa was taking up BS Agricultural Economics when she was recruited as one of the pioneering members of the Pi Sigma Confraternity, University of Southeastern Philippines-Mintal Chapter. Sis Vanessa became the first Lady Excelsius and actively fought for students’ and farmers’ rights alongside newly-recruited Pi Sigma Deltans and Pi Sigmans from USEP-Mintal.

In November of 2006, sis Vanessa, in her search for solutions to the poverty and social injustices that confronted her daily — desperation and apathy in the eyes of street children and lumad women begging for alms, of fellow students forced to drop out of school, of fellow young women pushed into prostitution to complete their studies in the hope of having a better future — left the comforts of urban life to join the underground organization Kabataang Makabayan and later the New People’s Army. It was a path that not everybody could understand; it was a path that not everyone is brave enough to take too. At the age of 21, sis Vanessa (Ka Enchang) became a member of the Conrado Heredia Command-Front 20 of the New People’s Army.

On 29 May 2011, during an encounter between the NPA unit she was with and the military, sis Vanessa was critically wounded in action. She was airlifted by Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and was rendered the hors d’ combat status. Pi Sigma Delta sorority and Pi Sigma fraternity had no news about Vanessa until the PI Sigma Confraternity, along with the rest of Davao City, heard about Vice Mayor Duterte’s rescue of a wounded female NPA soldier who needed immediate medical attention. The wounded NPA soldier was sis Vanessa.

Sis Vanessa is currently facing trumped up charges of four counts of frustrated murder, with a P200,000 bail for each case.

A Free Vanessa Movement has been set up to push for the unconditional release of sis Vanessa and other political prisoners who are suffering from severe health conditions on humanitarian grounds. The movement, composed of the family, friends of Vanessa and human rights advocates from different sectors and members of the civil society, is actively promoting and advocating for the rights of political prisoners, especially of women who are subject to various acts of discrimination and human rights abuses in prison. This movement is united in calling for the respect of the rights of all political prisoners, demanding that Vanessa and the more than 300 political prisoners be granted General, unconditional and omnibus amnesty for their incarceration are due to their political beliefs, for acts in pursuit of these beliefs.

Join the Free Vanessa Movement! Join the Free Vanessa Movement facebook group set up by the movement!