CPP Information Bureau
24 October 2010
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Eastern Visayas today urged the release of Eduardo Sarmiento, the detained NDFP peace consultant for the region, in light of the Aquino government's formation of a negotiating panel for peace talks with the NDFP.
"We look forward to the release of NDFP consultant Eduardo Sarmiento to participate in the peace talks," said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDFP-EV spokesperson.
"Mr. Sarmiento has forty years of experience of immersion and struggle with the peasant masses and other poor people of Eastern Visayas. He is aware of the people's problems and can elucidate on the basic socio-economic reforms needed to uplift the region and the country. His representation for the region can clarify matters such as whether a $200 million US grant will really benefit Samar, and why there is a clamor over rising hunger, poverty and repression in Eastern Visayas."
Fr. Salas also said Sarmiento's release would be a confidence-building measure to show the Aquino government's sincerity.
"The Philippine government has to address the outrage and distrust of the NDFP after the attacks over the years on its consultants by state security forces. For example, NDFP consultants Leo Velasco and Prudencio Calubid were abducted and remain missing to this day. And for one, Mr. Sarmiento was arrested on February 24, 2009 while in Manila for consultations, despite his safety and immunity guarantees and on the basis of trumped-up charges.
The Philippine government should show its compliance with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees and other agreements with the NDFP that lay the framework for peace negotiations."
The NDFP-EV spokesperson also chided the Aquino government for the lame excuse of unable to do anything about removing the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army from terrorist listing by the US and the European Union.
"The Aquino government should show political will and uphold national sovereignty in pursuing the peace talks. It is a bad sign of obsequiousness to foreign powers for the Aquino government to fail to strive for the removal of the CPP-NPA from the US and EU terrorist listings. In other words, the Aquino government would rather be servile to foreign countries than assert the matter of sovereignty in the peace talks, by urging the US and the EU to unlist the CPP-NPA.
We hope that the Aquino government and the NDFP can move the peace process forward over such obstacles. We look forward to the slated discussion towards an agreement on socio-economic reforms, which will be welcomed by the impoverished and suffering people."
NDF-EV Media Liaison Officer
Cellphone No. +639196199369