Tag Archives: GRP

CBCP asked to back resumption of talks

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Trinity Biglang Awa

MANILA, Philippines -The activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Friday urged the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to support the resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the communist led-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the 117 archbishops and bishops of CBCP are morally and spiritually obliged to support the resumption of the talks between the GRP and NDFP and mobilize all its the justice and peace desks to provide healthy political and moral atmosphere to the talks.

“In the name of our people’s collective and national interest, we appeal to CBCP to strongly endorse and support the resumption of peace talks between the government and the NDFP. The Roman Catholic community has a stake in the peace talks and therefore it is morally and politically proper for the bishops and archbishops to express interest and perform collective action for the resumption of the talks,” said Hicap.

However, the Pamalakaya leader said the CBCP must be extra vigilant on President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and other hardline militarists in Aquino administration because they always wanted to sabotage the talks and prefer the military and total war approach in rooting out the cause of armed conflict in the country

“While President Aquino is churning press releases after press releases regarding his intention to resume the talks with the NDFP, the 50-year old President is doing the exact opposite. President Aquino is sabotaging the peace talks by imposing ceasefire and in bizarre and blatant mode rejected the call to drop the terrorist tag on CPP-NPA-NDFP,” stressed Hicap.

“The resumption of peace talks again will depend on the political attitude and mindset of the Aquino administration, and given the last visit of Aquino the United States where he was able to get $ 434 million counter-insurgency aid and the 89 percent increase in the defense budget for 2011, the government is gearing for another episode of all-out war and the resumption of peace talks is more a political double talk,” the Pamalakaya official added.

Pamalakaya said the CBCP should convince the Aquino administration should proceed with confidence building measures like the unconditional and immediate release of more than 400 political prisoners, including the 43 health workers known as Morong 43, the dropping of criminal charges against political activists.

The gorup said the CBCP should also persuade the Aquino government to work hard for the removal of CPP-NPA in the terror list of the United States, European Union and New Zealand, uphold the Joint Hague Declaration as the main frame work for the peace talks and recognize 16 other bilateral agreements reached from 1992 to 2004.

“The CBCP should actively work for the removal of all legal and political obstacles to the resumption of the talks. We believe that’s their calling as far as the resumption of peace talks is concerned, nothing more, nothing less,” the militant group said.

At a Palace briefing yesterday, President Aquino’s adviser on the peace process, Teresita Deles, announced that the government had reconstituted its panel for the resumption of talks with the NDFP. The government panel will be led by Health undersecretary Alexander Padilla, a known human rights lawyer, peace advocates Atty. Pablito Sanidad of Baguio City, Ednar Dayanghirang of Davao Oriental, Lourdes Tison of Negros Occidental and Jurgette Honculada of Zamboanga.

Deles indicated that the government would no longer demand for a ceasefire with CPP and the NPA, however she admitted that President Aquino cannot do anything with terrorist tag the against the communist guerillas labeled by the US government and the European Union.But Pamalakaya said the first thing the Aquino government should do is to announce to the Filipino people and the international community that the CPP, the NPA and the NDFP are not terrorist groups but belligerent forces engaged in civil war with the GRP and its armed forces.

“It is not tough task to follow. That is easy as ABC because the Aquino government will just tell the truth and that would help in the campaign to remove the CPP-NPA-NDFP in the list of foreign terrorist organizations of the US and the European Union. Ms Deles is missing the point,” the group added. Pamalakaya said it wants the peace talks to resume so that both panels could thoroughly discussed the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Law (CARHRIHL).

The group said the talks should proceed with the second substantive agenda which is the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio Economic Reform (CASER) in which a number of issues on agrarian, agriculture and fisheries would be discussed which are deemed helpful in uplifting the poor conditions of farmers, fishermen and other rural people all over the country.

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Delisting of Joma in terrorist list is final, says EU court

By Kremlin Montenegro,contributor,The Pamalakaya times

Manila, Philippines- The judgment of the European Court of First Instance (now called the General Court under the Lisbon Treaty) removing Prof. Jose Maria Sison last 30 September 2009 from the terrorist blacklist of the European Union and unfreezing his bank account is now final and executory, according to a press statement sent to The Pamalakaya Times.

Ruth de Leon, internatonal coordinator of the support group DEFEND Committee said through its Legal Office, the Council of the European Union has confirmed today to Jan Fermon, the lead lawyer of Prof. Sison, that it has not lodged an appeal of the aforesaid judgment to the European Court of Justice within the prescribed period of appeal of two months and ten days from the date of judgment. The expiry date for the appeal was yesterday, 10 December 2009.

“Prof. Sison has sealed his victory after more than seven years of legal struggle against the EU terrorist blacklist since he was placed there on 22 October 2002 and was subjected to deprivation of the essential needs of human life and the violation of his fundamental human rights,” said the Utrecht based de Leon.

De leon said Prof. Sison won his case against the Council of EU before the European Court in 2007 on procedural issues. The court ruled that the Council has violated his rights to be properly informed of the charge, to be defended by counsel and to seek judicial protection.

Last 30 September 2009, Prof. Sison won his case on substantive issues. The court ruled that he was never investigated, prosecuted nor convicted for any specific act of terrorism and that passing and incidental statements in Dutch court judgments actually favorable to him on his asylum case from 1992 to 1997 and on the unproven murder charge against in 2007 did not make him a terrorist.

“The 30 September judgment of the European court in favor of Prof. Sison is a brilliant landmark decision. It is a standard for preventing the arbitrariness of European governments in blacklisting individuals, organizations and other entities as terrorists and for upholding and respecting their human rights. It is a blow on trends of fascism in Europe which have been growing in the name of anti-terrorism”, the DEFEND Committee said.

The lawyers of the exiled Sison said with the 30 September judgment having become final and executory, the case of founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines, now chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippins (NDFP) negotiating panel to the peace talks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines against the Council of EU can move forward to the stage of determining what compensation shall be made to his lawyers and to him for the deprivations, violations of rights and moral and material damages that he has suffered for more than seven years.

Prof. Sison’s battery of lawyers includes Jan Fermon from Belgium, Eberhard Hans Schultz and Wolfgang Kaleck of Germany, Antoine Comte of France and Dundar Gurses of The Netherlands. Judge Romeo T. Capulong and Rachel F. Pastores of the Public Interest Law Center and Bernard Tomlow, Dutch lawyer of the NDF International Office, have also provided legal cooperation.

Meanwhile, in Manila, leftwing groups supportive of the resumption of peace talks between the NDFP and the GRP urged the Philippine government to immediately lift the Martial Law in Maguindanao and stop sinister plot to install martial rule across the country, asserting that the imposition of Martial Law will frustrate efforts to bring both belligerent forces back to the negotiating table.

Rural based groups Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the imposition of Martial Law will send the talks in total collapse if the Arroyo administration pushes the execution of Martial Law all over the country.

Both groups maintained that the Ampatuan massacre last Nov.23 was orchestrated by top national security officials of Malacanang to stop the 2010 elections, lay down the grounds of Martial Law and perpetuate Mrs. Arroyo to power.

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EU court removes Joma from terrorist blacklist

EU court removes Joma from terrorist blacklist
by Gerry Albert Corpuz, senior reporter, The Pamalakaya Times

Manila, Philippines- Professor Jose Maria Sison and his legal counsels scored a major legal victory after the European Court of First Instance (ECFI) annulled yesterday all decisions and a regulation of the Council of the European Union (EU) that had maintained Prof. Jose Maria Sison in its so-called terrorist blacklist.

In a statement furnished by the The Netherlands based DEFEND Committee, the group said the removal of the name of Prof. Sison from the blacklist is the essence or main point of the ECFI judgment on Case T-341/07 of Prof. Sison against the Council of EU. “It directly unfreezes Sison’s funds in his small bank account and allows him to engage in financial dealings like any ordinary person,” it said.

To annul the acts of the Council in blacklisting Prof. Sison and
freezing his account, the ECFI ruled that the national decisions done in
The Netherlands and relied upon by the Council did not relate to the
instigation of investigations or prosecution or to a conviction for
terrorist activity, contrary to the requirements of European Community Law.

Aside from unfreezing the funds of Prof. Sison, the ECFI judgment opens the way for him to assert and enjoy all his rights that have been
restricted or suppressed due to the false charge of terrorism. He can
benefit from the judgment in the following ways:

1. To claim back the social payments for living allowance, housing,
health insurance and old age pension which have been withdrawn from him since 2002;
2. To seek gainful employment or render professional services with
remuneration;
3. To secure legal admission as a refugee and a residence permit;
4. To travel freely without restrictions;
5. To be free from being labelled and stigmatized as a terrorist; and
6. To claim moral and material damages for what he has suffered since 2002.

“The International DEFEND Committee is calling on all its adherents,
supporters and friends to celebrate the legal victory of Prof. Jose
Maria Sison in the European Court and at the same time to become more determined than ever before in demanding that the Dutch government and Council of the EU change their hostile policy towards him,” the statement said.

The European court decision ordered the Dutch government and the Council of the EU to cease and desist from being the vehicles of false charges and tools of persecution of the US and Philippine governments against Prof. Jose Maria Sison.

The decision should now allow and encourage Sison to act freely and fruitfully as the chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

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Militants seek bishops divine intervention, presidentiables support on resumption of GRP-NDFP peace talks

Militants seek bishops divine intervention, presidentiables support on resumption of GRP-NDFP peace talks

One of the groups supporting the resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines on Saturday urged the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)and all aspirants to the 2010 presidential elections to intervene and convince the government to remove all roadblocks for the stalled talks to resume at the earliest possible time.

“We strongly appeal to the 117 archbishops and bishops of the CBCP, and all presidential candidates in the 2010 elections to call on the Philippine government to rescind from imposing roadblocks that further imperil the talks. We believe the demands of the NDFP are politically and morally correct and the GRP should comply and honor these demands in the name of our people’s search for just and lasting peace,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said archbishops and bishops of the CBCP and presidential aspirants Senator Manuel Villar of Nacionalista Party, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III of Liberal Party, former President Joseph Estrada of Partido ng Masang Pilipino, Senator Francis Escudero of Nationalist’s People’s Coalition, Brother Eddie Villanueva of Bagong Pilipinas, Vice-President Noli de Castro and even administration bets Defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro and MMDA chair Bayani Fernando should join forces in convincing Malacanang to recognize the legitimate demands of the NDFP and kick off the resumption of talks at the earliest possible time.

Hicap reminded the CBCP and the 2010 presidential candidates that the resumption of peace talks is in the interest of the Filipino people calling for political settlement of the ongoing civil war in the countryside, saying many stakes that represent the aspirations of the people like human rights and economic rights will be discussed at the resumption of the talks.

‘The resumption of the talks is important to the people. It is a venue for them to articulate their day-to-day issues and struggles including but not limited to human rights and economic rights. The NDFP consultants should be freed from any kind of harassment and that the fabricated charges against them should be quashed and thrown to the dustbin of history for they are nothing but trumped up charges orchestrated by the militarist regime of President Arroyo,” added Hicap.

“The CBCP’s divine intervention and the strong support and lobbying of all presidential candidates for the resumption of the talks are needed to stop Malacañang from imposing conditions detrimental to the resumption of the talks,” he said.

Pamalakaya said it will also raise different issues to the peace talks once it is resumed like anti-Filipino national agreements like the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) and across-the-nation offshore mining activities in the country which it said destroys the small fisherfolk livelihood and the marine environment.

The militant group will also raise the P 32-billion proposed production subsidy for the small fisherfolk when the two panels starts discussion of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio Economic Rights or CASER, the second substantive agenda after human rights.

Luis Jalandoni, chair of the NDFP peace panel criticized that since lifting of the government suspension of the Jasig since July 17, it has done nothing to comply in the spirit and intent of the agreement. “Instead, the GRP has further violated the Jasig, generated more impediments and deprived consultants of full immunity and safety guarantees,” he said.

The NDFP peace panel chair noted that alleged rebel leader Randal Echanis was conditionally release for six months which is calculated to turn him into a hostaged consultant under duress of the GRP. He is subject to arrest anytime at the whim of GRP.

Jalandoni also noted two others, Rafael Baylosis and Vicente Ladlad were issued safe conduct passes “whose text incriminates them and makes them accept they are criminal offenders. The two consultants have rejected the “shame passes” he said. #

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Manila talking peace while terrorizing people 

THE PAMALAKAYA TIMES EDITORIAL
Manila talking peace while terrorizing people

The resumption of the stalled peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines will kick off in the last week of August, a development welcomed by peace advocates all over the Philippines.

However, peace advocates at the same time are worried because while the Manila government is talking peace, its armed forces are on a rampage displacing thousands of civilians in the countryside.

A report from the National Solidarity Mission to the Lumad Evacuees in Surigao del Sur revealed that since June 18, 2009, some 303 Manobo families with 1,795 individuals fled their mountain communities in the municipalities of Lianga, San Agustin and Tago in Surigao del Sur after the deployment of troops from different units under the 401st Infantry Brigade.

According to the human rights watchdog Karapatan in Caraga Region, the deployment of thousands of troops was aimed at promoting peace and development in the communist influenced areas, so to implement their community projects, specifically literacy projects in 15 indigenous farming communities.

But the group said the literacy projects of the Armed Forces of the Philippines were ironic. The human rights group said these Manobo peasant communities already have schools that were established with the help of the Tribal Filipino Program in the province and the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development, two non-government organizations that were branded by the National Security Council of Malacañang as fronts of communist guerillas and the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Reports reaching regional and provincial media outlets said military checkpoints have been set up that limited the amount of food that could be brought into the communities. Worse, the schools of tribal children were surrounded 24 hours a day and seven times a week by the military prompting the children to quit school for fear of military harassment.

The mission also said government troops in full-battle gear have encamped the homes of tribal people and they maintained detachments and war posts within the range of fire of civilian communities, a situation which local government agencies and authorities refused to address for fear of military reprisal.

Karapatan-Caraga region chapter said negotiations for the immediate return of the evacuees to their homes were facilitated by Surigao del Sur Governor Vicente Pimentel and witnessed by the forthcoming president of the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and Tandag Diocese Bishop Nereo Odchimar. But these negotiations remain bleak because the military refused to pull out from the tribal peasant communities.

The deployment of government troops in battalion sizes in these tribal farmer communities is not the first time since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001. In 2005 and 2007, the military launched an occupation campaign where their operations resulted in the death of an indigenous farmer and the enforced disappearance of four other tribal farmers.

During the same years, cases of physical and psychological torture were committed against members of the 15 Lumad peasant communities, and other cases of human rights violations such as destruction and disruption of their livelihood, cessation of classes because of the use of the schools as military barracks that created fear and insecurity among their children.

The Manila government clearly violated a lot of international instruments in the conduct of just and humane war as enshrined in the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights and other protocols serving as guides in the conduct of civil war.

President Arroyo and the AFP also summarily violated its agreement with the NDFP, which is the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law that prohibits the military from terrorizing the civilian populace in the course of military operations against the New People’s Army, the political armed group of the CPP.

Terrorizing civilians, whom the military suspects of supporting the NPAs is a national policy of the Manila government and this campaign of unjust war and state terror has been going since time immemorial in vain attempt to crush the raging war for national liberation espoused by the New People’s Army in rural Philippines.

Based on the consolidated report filed by Karapatan from 2001 to 2008, the Manila government under the Arroyo administration forced the evacuation and displacement of 868,096 Filipinos and committed human rights abuses in the form of indiscriminate firing to some 534,717 individuals during the same period.

Since 2001 up to December 2008, the government imposed food blockades victimizing 79,840 people. In the conduct of its counter-insurgency program against the communist guerillas, human rights organizations reported that the use of schools, medical, religious and other public places by the military affected 47,718 people mostly farmers and their children.

Also during the same period, advocates of children’s rights in rural communities revealed that the Manila government violated the rights of 7,749 children all over the country in the course of military operations.

These data on human rights abuses are excluded from the hundreds of cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, which according to Karapatan have already victimized 991 and 201 political activists over the last 8 years of the Arroyo administration.

Meanwhile, the NDFP leadership in Mindanao has urged the Manila government and the Philippine military to stop terrorizing the tribal communities. It asserted that peoples’ communities should be spared from any forms or any kinds of state terror and military action in accordance with the UN instruments on human rights and on the conduct of war against armed national liberation movements like the one waged by NPAs.

Very much concerned with the situation of the tribal communities, the NDFP said the Philippine military should be compelled to stop its operations to allow humanitarian assistance groups to conduct immediate relief and rehabilitation works. It said the Arroyo government should pull out its troops to allow evacuees’ safe return to their homes and resume their production in the farms and build their interrupted livelihood affected by the military all-out offensive against the communist guerillas.

People’s associations and non-government organizations working for the rights and welfare of tribal communities should bring the issue before members of the peace panel in Oslo, Norway where the talks will be held. In particular, we suggest these groups to bring their complaints against the Government of the Republic of the Philippines to the NDFP peace panel and copy furnish the Royal Norwegian Government, being the third party facilitator to the peace talks.

Advocates of human rights should castigate and denounce the Manila government and the Philippine military for wantonly violating the rights of the people in the name of its counter-insurgency program and ideology of national security. It is one of the politically correct ways of addressing the humanitarian emergency problem and gross human rights abuses in Surigao del Sur.

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Militants seek CBCP divine intervention on GRP-NDFP peace talks

Militants seek CBCP divine intervention on GRP-NDFP peace talks

One of the groups supporting the resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines on Saturday urged the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to intervene in the resumption of the talks, which is currently imperiled by the failure of the Macapagal-Arroyo government to comply with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig) that could affect the resumption of the talks.

“We strongly appeal to the 117 archbishops and bishops of the CBCP to support the politically and morally correct position of the NDFP for the GRP to comply with and honor the spirit of the agreement so the stalled peace talks could start anytime between the last week of this month or first week of September,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

“We also appeal to the peace advocates to do the same and pressure Malacañang and the Arroyo peace panel so that the NDFP and its consultants can go back to the negotiating panel without being hostage, undermined or kept under duress by the Manila government,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Hicap reminded the CBCP that the resumption of peace talks is also in the interest of the Filipino people calling for political settlement of the ongoing civil war in the countryside, saying many stakes that represent the aspirations of the people like human rights and economic rights will be discussed at the resumption of the talks.

‘The resumption of the talks is important to the people. It is a venue for them to articulate their day-to-day issues and struggles including but not limited to human rights and economic rights. The NDFP consultants should be freed from any kind of harassment and that fabricated charges against them should be quashed and thrown to the dustbin of history for they are nothing but trumped up charges orchestrated by the militarist regime of President Arroyo,” added Hicap.

“The CBCP’s divine intervention is needed to stop Malacañang from imposing conditions or manufacturing roadblocks to place the talks in peril,” he said.

Pamalakaya said it will also raise different issues to the peace talks once it is resumed like anti-Filipino national agreements like the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) and across-the-nation offshore mining activities in the country which it said destroys the small fisherfolk livelihood and the marine environment.

The militant group will also raise the P 32-billion proposed production subsidy for the small fisherfolk when the two panels starts discussion of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio Economic Rights or CASER, the second substantive agenda after human rights.

Luis Jalandoni, chair of the NDFP peace panel criticized that since lifting of the government suspension of the Jasig since July 17, it has done nothing to comply in the spirit and intent of the agreement. “Instead, the GRP has further violated the Jasig, generated more impediments and deprived consultants of full immunity and safety guarantees,” he said.

The NDFP peace panel chair noted that alleged rebel leader Randal Echanis was conditionally release for six months which is calculated to turn him into a hostaged consultant under duress of the GRP. He is subject to arrest anytime at the whim of GRP.

Jalandoni also noted two others, Rafael Baylosis and Vicente Ladlad were issued safe conduct passes “whose text incriminates them and makes them accept they are criminal offenders. The two consultants have rejected the “shame passes” he said. #

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