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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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Joma thanked supporters over major legal victory in EU

Joma thanked supporters over major legal victory in EU court

by Gerry Albert Corpuz, senior reporter, The Pamalakaya Times

Manila, Philippines- Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Prof. Jose Maria Sison thanked members of his legal counsel and support groups for his major legal victory concerning his inclusion in the terrorist listing of the European Union.

“I thank all the people and organized forces in various countries for standing in solidarity with me in the struggle for my rights against blacklist since 2002. I thank my international battery of lawyers for providing excellent legal assistance. I thank the International DEFEND Committee for rallying support for me beyond the confines of the court,” Sison said in a press statement furnished to the Pamalakaya Times.

Sison, chief political consultant to the peace talks of the communist led National Democratic Front of the Philippines said he is happy that the European Court of First Instance (ECFI) has annulled all the decisions and the regulation of the Council of the European Union (EU) that has kept my name in its so-called terrorist blacklist.

The 70-year old Sison said the ECFI has ruled that the judgments of the Dutch State Council and the Legal Uniformity Chamber about my asylum case and those of The Hague District Court Appellate Court about the false charge of murder, do not relate to the instigation of investigations or prosecution or to a conviction for terrorist activity, contrary to the requirements of European Community Law. Said court judgments in The Netherlands are in fact favorable to me but have been maliciously misinterpreted by the Council.

The main point in the ECFI judgment on Sison’s case T-341/07 against the Council of EU is the removal of his name from the blacklist. As a consequence, his small bank account is unfrozen and he was allowed to engage in financial dealings like anyone else normally does.

The ECFI judgment opens the way for me to exercise and enjoy the rights that have been curtailed and suppressed due to the false charge of terrorism.

As Sison’s lawyers and the International DEFEND Committee have pointed out, the CPP founding chair is now in the position of being able to do the following: 1) to claim back the social payments for living allowance, housing, health insurance and old age pension which have been withdrawn from me since 2002; 2) render professional services with remuneration or seek gainful employment; 3) to secure legal admission as a refugee and a residence permit; 4) to travel freely without restrictions; 5) to be free from being demonized and stigmatized as a terrorist; and 6) to claim moral and material damages for what I have suffered since 2002.

Sison agreed with and endorsed the call of the International DEFEND Committee to all its adherents, supporters and friends to celebrate his legal victory in the European Court and at the same time to become more determined than ever before in demanding that the Dutch government, Council of the EU and certain other governments to change their hostile policy towards the NDFP chief political consultant to the peace talks with the Philippine government.

He said the Dutch government and the Council of the EU must cease and desist from being the vehicles of false charges and tools of persecution of the US and Philippine governments against me.

“It is a matter of justice that my rights are fully respected and I am allowed 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 and not be persecuted and placed under duress,” Sison’s statement read.

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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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EU court to decide Joma’s case vs. terror blacklist


EU court to decide Joma’s case vs. terror blacklist

Utrecht, The Netherlands- The European Court of First Instance (ECFI) will issue in Luxembourg on 30 September its judgment on Case T-341/07 of Prof. Jose Maria Sison versus the Council of the European Union (EU), in which he complains against the maintenance of his name in the EU terrorist blacklist and
demands the removal of his name from said list.

In a statement sent by the International Committee DEFEND Filipino progressives in Europe, it says, “the crucial point against the Council of the European Union is that it has unjustly maintained Prof. Sison in the so-called terrorist blacklist without any concrete evidence against him for any specific act of terrorism.”

According to DEFEND, previously, the European court issued a court judgment on 11 July 2007 in favor of Prof. Sison, ordering the Council of the EU to annul its decision to blacklist Prof. Sison and declaring the Council as having infringed Prof. Sison’s rights of defense, the obligation to state reasons and the right to effective judicial protection.

But before the issuance of the court judgment, the Council of the EU put again the name of Prof. Sison in its blacklist on 28 June 2007, thus prompting him to file a new complaint before the European Court demand his removal from the so-called terrorist blacklist on the ground that the Council has infringed the following: 1) the obligation to state reasons and make a truthful assessment, 2) Article 2 (3) of Regulation No. 2580/2001 and Article 1 (4) of Common Position 2001/931, 3) the
principle of proportionality and 4) the general principles of Community law and fundamental rights.

The International DEFEND Committee is confident that Prof. Sison will win his case again because of the previous judgment of the ECFI in favor of Prof. Sison in 2007 and the dropping of the false charges of murder against him in The Netherlands last 31 March 2009. The Dutch prosecution service failed to establish any criminal offense of Prof. Sison.

Nicholas James Forwood is the presiding judge of the court in Case T-341/07 of Prof. Jose Maria Sison versus the Council of the EU. According to E. Coulon, the registrar of the court, the ECFI judgment shall be read at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 in one of the ECFI courtrooms at Kirchberg, Luxembourg, Rue du Fort Niedergrunewald L-2925.

Prof. Sison is represented by Jan Fermon as lead lawyer, the German lawyers Eberhard Schultz and Wolfgang Kaleck, the Filipino lawyer Romeo T. Capulong, the French lawyer Antoine Comte and Dutch lawyer Dundar Gurses. The International DEFEND Committee provides moral and material support to Prof. Jose Maria Sison.

Journalists are advised to seek entry to the courtroom at the reception desk of the ECFI 15 minutes before the session. They can interview briefly Prof. Jose Maria Sison and his lead counsel, Jan Fermon, outside of the courtroom immediately after the issuance of the decision.

According to Ms Ruth de Leon, International Committee DEFEND pointperson in Europe, in the final oral hearing of the Sison complaint against the EU terrorist blacklist last 30 April 2009, the presiding judge took special note of the fact that Prof. Sison had never been prosecuted in The Netherlands for any specific act of terrorism. The lawyer of the Dutch government as intervener in the case also admitted that the previous dropping of the murder charges against him by the Dutch prosecution was a new element to be taken into account.

“The false charges of inciting the killing of Philippine military agents was terminated by the Dutch prosecution service last 31 March 2009 due to lack of evidence, as had been ruled previously in judgments of Dutch judicial authorities (district court of The Hague, appellate court and the examining judge),” she said.

De leon further stressed the aforesaid termination of prosecution is relevant to the case before the European court. It shows the lack of concrete evidence for the allegation that Prof. Sison is Armando Liwanag or chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as well as for the allegation that he is culpable for any violent act of the New People’s Army, despite the close collaboration of Dutch and Philippine political authorities for several years in trying to criminalize him.

“The Council has continuously failed to cite any decision of any
competent national judicial authority to prove Prof. Sison’s involvement in any specific act of terrorism. In desperation, the Council has misrepresented as decisions on Prof. Sison’s culpability for terrorism the Dutch court decisions on his application for political asylum in the 1990s and the recent Dutch court decisions on the false charges of inciting murder,” she said.

De leon added: “In fact, the Dutch Council of State in 1992 and 1995 and the Dutch Law Uniformity Chamber in 1997 ruled that Prof. Sison is a political refugee under Article 1 A of the Refugee Convention because he has no criminal liability as to disqualify him from being recognized as such.”

She said the District Court of The Hague and the Appellate Court in 2007 ruled that there is no sufficient evidence against him for the incitation of murder. The passing statement that there are indications or clues that he plays a prominent role in the CPP does not mean culpability for any criminal act of terrorism.

Jan Fermon, lead counsel of Prof. Sison, sharply criticized the of the EU and the Dutch government for misrepresenting judgments of the District Court of the Hague on 13 September 2007 and the Dutch Appeal Court on 3 October 2007 on false murder charges against Prof. Sison as judgments condemning him for terrorism. In fact the court decisions released Prof. Sison from detention on the ground of insufficent evidence for the charges of inciting murder.

The so-called terrorist blacklisting of the CPP and NPA by the US, EU and other foreign governments is completely anomalous because under Philippine law the CPP is already legal by virtue of the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law in 1992 and because under Philippine law the acts of revolutionary armed struggle by the NPA against military targets are deemed as acts of rebellion and under international laws of war as acts of belligerency in a civil war.

On the basis of the Marty report and recommendations, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has condemned EU blacklisting procedures as violative of human rights. Legal experts and human rights organizations have cited the case of Prof. Sison to express outrage over the violation of his fundamental rights.

Since being blacklisted as terrorist by the US, Dutch and other
governments in August 2002, Prof. Sison has been actually subjected to punitive measures for more than seven years under the pretext of temporary administrative restrictive measures. Civil death is imposed him as he is prohibited from having legal residence, earning an income, receiving a living allowance, holding a house, having sufficient insurance coverage, receiving old age pension and travelling freely.

By being merely blacklisted as a “terrorist”, Prof. Sison has
suffered a fate worse than that of a criminal convicted for murder or even the prime suspects in 9-11 who are assured of their essential needs by UN Security Council resolution 1452. Until now, the Dutch Finance Minister prohibits Prof. Sison from having financial transaction of any kind and from receiving any social payment for his essential human needs. Friends
are outraged by the inhumanity of the EU and the Dutch government and lend Prof. Sison the resources for his subsistence and legal expenses.###

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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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