NDFP expresses appreciation for Alston Report to the United Nations

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel deeply appreciates the Report of UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston to the UN General Assembly on extrajudicial killings in the Phiippines. Prof. Alston hits the nail on the head when he pinpoints the Arroyo government's counter-insurgency plan, Oplan Bantay Laya, as the major reason for the drastic increase in the extrajudicial killings of leftist activists in the last six years.

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel deeply appreciates the Report of UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston to the UN General Assembly on extrajudicial killings in the Phiippines. Prof. Alston hits the nail on the head when he pinpoints the Arroyo government's counter-insurgency plan, Oplan Bantay Laya, as the major reason for the drastic increase in the extrajudicial killings of leftist activists in the last six years.

His exposé of the regime's 110-page "order of battle", signed by top military and police officials, brings to light the top policy decisions of the Arroyo regime in carrying out death-squad assassinations on a nation-wide scale. Alston reiterates his firm view that the regime's military is in a state of denial regarding the numerous extrajudicial killings convincingly attributed to them.

In his powerful report, Prof. Alston describes the deadly consequences of the Arroyo government's counter-insurgency policies. “Many in the Government have concluded that numerous civil society organizations are ‘fronts’ for the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed group, the New People's Army. One response has been counter-insurgency operations that result in the extrajudicial execution of leftist activists. In some areas, the leaders of leftist organizations are systematically hunted down by interrogating and torturing those who may know their whereabouts, and they are often killed following a campaign of individual vilification designed to instill fear into the community.”

The NDFP Negotiating Panel likewise appreciates Prof. Alston's firm rejection of the claims of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that the New People's Army (NPA) is responsible for most of the killings through so-called internal purges. Prof. Alston states, “The military's insistence that the ‘purge theory’ is correct can only be viewed as a cynical attempt to displace responsibility.”

The NDFP Negotiating Panel again vigorously condemns the Arroyo regime for the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of more than a thousand unarmed activists and reiterates that the regime's Oplan Bantay Laya plan and gross human rights violations are major impediments to the resumption of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP.

The NDFP Negotiating Panel takes this occasion to reiterate the firm commitment of the revolutionary movement to adhere to the Geneva Conventions and Protocols, to the Rules of the NPA and other principles and policies of its judicial and legal system, and to the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

We hope that the Alston Report to the United Nations will give added impetus to the campaign to stop the extrajudicial killings and other gross human rights violations committed by the Arroyo regime and open up possibilities for the resumption of peace talks directed at addressing the roots of the armed conflict through social, economic and political reforms beneficial to the people.

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