Fr. SANTIAGO SALAS (Ka Sanny)
Spokesperson, NDFP-Eastern Visayas
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Eastern Visayas today slammed the implementation of the P50 million peso Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA, Peaceful and Prosperous Community) program in the Samar provinces as a betrayal of the peace process.
“This so-called ‘peace and prosperity’ program of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process brings nothing but cosmetic solutions,” said NDFP-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas.
“The people are seeking social justice over landlessness, unemployment, high prices of commodities, oil and utilities, foreign control of the economy and other basic problems. Constructing roads and bridges in Western Samar and Northern Samar is merely glossing over the root causes of the armed conflict.”
Fr. Salas furthermore said the PAMANA program also supports the military’s all-out war under Oplan Bayanihan. “PAMANA should in fact be called ‘pambala’ for serving as fodder for the 8th Infantry Division’s psywar and offensive operations. The military is tapped to join the construction projects. The 8th ID uses these projects to facilitate its ‘peace and development’ operations — which are in reality psywar and offensive operations against the New People’s Army.
“Human rights violations in the region continue to rise under the curtain of these ‘peace and development’ operations.”
The NDFP-EV spokesperson also asserted the Aquino government should release Eduardo Sarmiento and his fellow NDFP peace consultants to pursue the discussion of socio-economic reforms.
“Eduardo Sarmiento has been advocating the people’s demands for peace for decades, having been involved in the 1986 peace talks with the former president, Cory Aquino. But Noynoy Aquino is a poor shadow of his mother, who released the political prisoners who fought against the Marcos dictatorship. The stance of the current president is more in line with the dictator who imprisoned and killed his father, Ninoy Aquino, along with many other martyrs in the antifascist struggle.
“The NDFP-EV challenges the Aquino government to release Eduardo Sarmiento and the NDFP peace consultants and work for badly needed socio-economic reforms.
“The people’s sufferings continue to worsen while the peace talks stagnate and the socio-economic crisis rages. The Aquino regime should heed the people’s plight, not add to their burdens with Oplan Bayanihan (Aquino government’s counter-insurgency program) as well as deceptions such as the PAMANA program.”