On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War
By Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights (Karapatan)
Peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) joined other political prisoners in a 10-day fast/hunger strike to protest their “continued detention, the unabated human rights violations, the continuing corruption in the government and the ineptitude of the BS Aquino Aquino regime in responding to the people’s situation in the areas hit by typhoon Haiyan.”
The peace consultants detained at the Camp Bagong Diwa and Camp Crame said in a separate statement issued today that, as a matter of principle, the NDFP remains open in continuing the peace talks “especially in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan and the magnitude of disaster brought about by the ineptitude of the BS government in preparing for the typhoon and in responding to the situation of the victims.”
Those at the Camp Bagong Diwa however cautioned, “since there is not much hope for the resumption of peace talks between the NDFP and the GPH (government of the Republic of the Philippines), and the subsequent release of political prisoners, we see no other alternative but for this sitting president to be replaced by someone who is more capable and open to the possibilities that a peace negotiations process may prosper.”
“Ang NDF at rebolusyonaryong pwersang kasama nito ay palaging nananatiling bukas sa pagpapatuloy ng natigil na usapang pangkapayapaan at pagkakaroon ng mas matagalang mga tigil-putukan batay sa pagkakamit ng mga sustantibong kasunduan. Gayundin, walang indikasyong may maasahang hakbang ng GPH para sa pagpapalaya ng mga nakakulong na konsultant pangkapayapaan ng NDF at mahigit 440 pang mga bilanggong pultikal sa bansa,” the statement from Camp Bagong Diwa said. (The NDFP and its allied revolutionary forces are always open to resuming the peace talks and in having long-term ceasefires based on the forging of substantive agreements. At the same time, there is no indication to expect that the GPH will take steps in releasing the detained NDFP Peace Consultants, nor the more than 440 other political prisoners in the country.)
The consultants scored the government’s continuing military operations and its refusal to match the ceasefire declaration of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army in disaster-stricken areas, because the Armed Forces of the Philippines is more concerned with their war against the so-called enemies of the state than with the plight of the victims of the typhoon.
The 13 NDFP consultants are detained due to trumped up criminal charges, and in violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) signed between the government of the Republic of the Philippines and the NDFP in 1995. The BS Aquino government has continued to renege on its earlier commitment to release “most, if not all” political prisoners in the country. In September 2012, the GPH unilaterally terminated the peace talks with the NDFP.
The consultants also panned at the uncertainty of achieving justice, the prosecution of perpetrators and an end to human rights violations under the BS Aquino regime. “Inilalantad at dinidiinan ng mga ito ang pagiging mapagkunwari lamang, at sa katunaya’y bulok, na katangian ng kasalukuyang nakaluklok na rehimeng may dala-dala pang islogang ‘matuwid na daan’“. (These only expose and emphasize that the incumbent regime, which upholds the slogan ‘righteous path’, is simply specious and, in fact, bankrupt.)
The peace consultants’ protest fast and hunger strike is part of the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners. A parallel protest action was held by members of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) with members of COURAGE, GABRIELA, BAYAN-NCR, Karapatan, and other people’s organizations.
The 13 NDFP peace consultants in detention are: Renante Gamara, Eduardo Sarmiento, Eduardo Serrano, Alan Jazmines, Tirso Alcantara, Emeterio Antalan, Leopoldo Caluza, Edgardo Friginal, Alfredo Mapano, Pedro Codaste, Jaime Soledad, Ramon Patriarca, and Loida Magpatoc.
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
Secretary General, KARAPATAN
Media Liaison, KARAPATAN
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Building
#1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets
Central District, Diliman
Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.