By Fr. SANTIAGO SALAS (Ka Sanny)
Spokesperson, NDFP-Eastern Visayas
In a statement noting the third year of detention of the detained NDFP consultant for the region, Eduardo Sarmiento, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Eastern Visayas today said the Aquino government must show its sincerity for the people’s welfare and resume the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
“The Aquino government willfully refuses to release Eduardo Sarmiento and the other detained consultants,” said NDFP-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas.
“It is striving to junk the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and other previous agreements with the NDFP, that not only protect the consultants but also assure the framework towards reaching a just and lasting peace. By doing so, the Aquino government shows it wants both to exploit the peace talks to call for the capitulation of the revolutionary forces, as well as use Oplan Bayanihan to attack and repress the people.”
Fr. Salas said government forces arrested Sarmiento on 26 Feb. 2009 while he was in Metro Manila, even though he was an NDFP peace consultant for Eastern Visayas with guaranteed safety and immunity.
“Since then, the Aquino government has done everything to deny its obligation under the JASIG to release Sarmiento and other NDFP consultants. The government’s actions disparage the peace process and sabotage the prospects of resuming the peace talks to discuss socio-economic reforms. Meanwhile, the people’s sufferings only worsen with continuing landlessness, unemployment, oil price hikes, large-scale mining plunder, and other outstanding socio-economic issues.”
The NDFP-EV spokesperson called on the Aquino government to stop using the peace talks as a psywar ploy and release Sarmiento as well as the other NDFP consultants.
“While the Aquino government wields the peace talks as an instrument of psywar, it is also embroiled in the struggle between elements for and against Aquino in the military, the latter floating their own psywar that the government is siding with the communists. Such is obviously false and has been exposed by others as actions by forces of the former president, Gloria Arroyo. But the Aquino government is getting a dose of its own medicine after playing psywar with the peace talks, rather than heeding the interests of the people. The Aquino government is blundering its way to worsening political and economic crisis.
“The long-suffering people desire a just and lasting peace. The NDFP-EV earnestly calls on the church people, media, civil libertarians, human rights and peace advocates, and the entire people to remain vigilant and support the release of Eduardo Sarmiento and other NDFP consultants and the resumption of the peace talks.”