By Liberation International
An international group of human rights and liberation movements recently demanded president Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines to release consultants and staff of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines who are being held as political prisoners by the Manila government. The personnel of the underground NDFP were abducted and detained while performing their duties for the peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Manila government.
The demand was contained in the Final Declaration of the 10th International Symposium Against Isolation held in Berlin, 15-17 March, and released to the media on 2 April.
The Symposium brought together various groups from Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa, all promoters of human rights and fighters against political isolation. An NDFP delegate exposed the poverty and political repression in current Philippine society, including the practice of enforced disappearances, political assassinations, and detaining political dissenters.
“We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Tirso Alcantara, Alan Jazmines, Renante Gamara, and other consultants and staff of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines,” the various groups declared.
The Final Declaration added: “We demand the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. Fighting for national liberation and the peoples’ democratic rights is not a crime! On the other hand, the reactionary states who are keeping them in prison are guilty of depriving them their basic human rights and are guilty of deterring social change.”
Signatories to the declaration included the Republican Sinn Fein (Ireland); 23rd Septermber Movement (Bulgaria); Communist Party of Bulgaria; The Communists of Russia Party; Antifascist Revolutionary Action Berlin (Germany); People’s Front (Turkey), Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular (Honduras); and the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (Guinea-Bissau).
The groups vowed collective action against repressive regimes like the Philippines, stating, “If one of us will be attacked by police or any other reactionary forces all other participating organizations will exert all efforts to defend or protect the attacked member.
“We will launch various protest actions, for example picketing in front of the embassy of the attacking country, sending protest letters, writing articles about it in our web pages, or similar types of action.”
The NDFP was introduced in the Symposium as the revolutionary united front of the Filipino people fighting for national liberation and genuine democracy. The Filipino delegate reported that a total of 430 political prisoners are languishing in jail in different parts of the country. 148 of these were arrested during the current Aquino government’s term.
“Government officials ridiculously claim that there are no political prisoners in the country,” the Filipino said, “because they slap the prisoners with false criminal charges, instead of the political offense of rebellion.”
NDFP personnel involved in ongoing peace negotiations with the Aquino government are supposed to be immune from arrest and prosecution under the terms of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees. 13 political prisoners are consultants and staff members of the NDFP, including Tirso Alcantara, Alan Jazmines, Renante Gamara.
The Philippine delegate added, “As the revolutionary struggle for national liberation and democracy intensifies on all fronts, we also anticipate an increase in the brutality and ruthlessness of the reactionary state. Even now, the Aquino government is systematically arresting political activists and charging them with made-up criminal charges.
“If the prison cell cannot stop them, the reactionary armed forces do not hesitate in assassinating or ‘disappearing’ the political activists.” [Liberation International]