CPP urges preliminary talks to take up JASIG violations, release of political prisoners and human rights issues
By CPP Information Bureau
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today urged the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) negotiating panel to take up in the upcoming preliminary talks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) on January 14-18 the issues of government forces' violations of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), the continued detention of some 400 political prisoners and the long-delayed indemnification of victims of human rights abuses.
"In line with the objective of giving the formal resumption of peace negotiations a boost, the CPP sees the urgent need to get the GRP's commitment to comply with the JASIG, put an end to the continued detention of political prisoners and work to provide justice to all the victims of state violations of human rights," said the CPP.
The release of political prisoners, investigation of human rights abuses under the Arroyo government and the indemnification of the victims of the Marcos dictatorship are long overdue in accordance the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL).
"The GRP must reprimand and instruct the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and its other security agencies to stop violating these agreements," the CPP said further.
"Otherwise, there will be no sense for the NDFP to talk peace with the GRP's negotiating panel while its military and police forces continue to violate with impunity whatever agreements have been reached and signed."
The CPP made the statements in the aftermath of the January 4 arrest of Comrade Tirso "Ka Bart" Alcantara — in violation of the JASIG as well as the treacherous arrest of at least two other cadres and their companions during the ceasefire period. On December 17, NDFP Northcentral Mindanao leader Pedro Codaste was arrested with four others at a checkpoint in Bayugan, Agusan del Norte. On January 1, Edwin Brigano, an NPA cadre in the Southern Mindanao region was arrested while undergoing medical treatment for serious respiratory illness and hepatitis.
The CPP denounced the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for filing trumped-up criminal charges against the arrested CPP/NDF/NPA leaders "in a desperate effort to justify their illegal and treacherous arrests and continued detention." The CPP said that while most of the criminal charges are trumped-up, the others stem from legitimate acts of war, are governed by international rules and do not fall within the jurisdiction of Philippine penal laws.
"If there are legitimate complaints, these should be subjected to negotiations in accordance with the CARHRIHL."
"In compliance with the JASIG, the CPP and the NDFP reiterate their demand for the Philippine government to immediately release Ka Bart in order for this matter not to stall the resumption of formal peace negotiations," added the CPP. "It further calls for the immediate release of Comrades Codaste and Brigano, as well as other detained NDFP consultants."
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