The people will persevere in ousting the Arroyo regime and build a new Philippines

The people will persevere in ousting the Arroyo regime and build a just, democratic, peaceful and prosperous Philippines

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

On the 2nd anniversary of the inauguration of the office of the Joint Secretariat of the Joint Monitoring Committee, I extend warmest congratulations to the NDFP-Nominated Section of the Joint Secretariat, to the members of the NDFP Monitoring Committee and the NDFP-Nominated independent observers, Bishop Tomas A. Millamena and Ms. Marie Hilao-Enriquez, and to all those who have helped the JS do its very significant work under the most difficult and risky conditions.

The people will persevere in ousting the Arroyo regime and build a just, democratic, peaceful and prosperous Philippines

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

On the 2nd anniversary of the inauguration of the office of the Joint Secretariat of the Joint Monitoring Committee, I extend warmest congratulations to the NDFP-Nominated Section of the Joint Secretariat, to the members of the NDFP Monitoring Committee and the NDFP-Nominated independent observers, Bishop Tomas A. Millamena and Ms. Marie Hilao-Enriquez, and to all those who have helped the JS do its very significant work under the most difficult and risky conditions.

I wish to express our deep appreciation to the Royal Norwegian Government for giving moral and financial support to the JS as the third party facilitator of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, as well as to Bishop Deogracias Iniguez and Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco for facilitating the office of the JS.

We hailed the signing and approval of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) as a landmark achievement of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. We celebrated the inauguration of the JS office as the concrete proof of a mechanism of cooperation between the two Parties in the armed conflict to help the Joint Monitoring Committee to monitor the implementation of the CARHRIHL.

It is an impressive achievement of the NDFP-Nominated Section of the JS to have screened and examined all the 693 complaints filed with the GRP-JS. This is made possible by the courage of the victims, the survivors, their families and pertinent organizations in taking the risk to file the complaints.

Since 34 are identical or similar incidents, the 659 complaints pertain to the following:

  •  807 incidents of 2,196 violations involving 44,789 individuals,
  •  2,830 families/ households, 7 sitios/ barrios, 26 communities, 17 organizations,
  •  1 factfinding mission team.

To specify further, out of the said complaints, there are 163 complaints of killings involving 265 victims. Of these 163 complaints – 22 are of massacres (involving 102 victims), 139 are summary executions (160 victims), and two are of deaths due to strafing (3 victims). There are also 31 complaints of enforced disappearances involving 45 victims.

These complaints reflect the alarming escalation of extrajudicial killings, frustrated killings and enforced disappearances. KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights) has documented more than 600 extrajudicial killings, more than 200 frustrated killings and more than 150 enforced disappearances since the Arroyo regime assumed power in 2001. The regime has created a climate of impunity. It even promotes such cowardly killers like General Jovito Palparan who murders unarmed civilians. Motorcycle-riding assassins are on the rampage in a pattern similar to that of 1986 to 1988 when General Eduardo Ermita was Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations of the AFP. The killings follow the Operation Phoenix of the US in its war of aggression against Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, when Ermita was in Vietnam with John Negroponte, the current US intelligence chief The US Phoenix program aimed to destroy the political infrastructure of the Vietnamese liberation movement. It proved to be an utter failure.

Now, the Arroyo regime’s Cabinet Oversight Committee for Internal Security (COC-IS) including General Ermita, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz, AFP Chief of Staff Generoso Senga, and PNP Chief Arturo Lomibao, among others, directs the killings and disappearances.

The regime, isolated by its massive electoral fraud, puppetry to the US, and anti-people and anti-national policies, clings to power by subserviently giving full support to the US “war on terror” and seeking to destroy the revolutionary armed movement and the legal democratic movement through its so-called counterinsurgency plan, Bantay Laya. Frustrated in its efforts to stop the growth of the revolutionary armed struggle and the legal democratic movement, the regime desperately resorts to vile fascist attacks against unarmed civilians and the democratic Left.

In the process, the regime has practically killed the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. It has invalidly suspended the safety and immunity guarantees provided for in the JASIG. It has charged with rebellion those who are involved in the peace negotiations and all those covered by the JASIG. NDFP political consultant, Sotero Llamas, was assassinated by the regime’s motorcycle-riding assassins last week. Rafael Baylosis and Randal Echanis, members of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms, are charged with rebellion. Vicente Ladlad, NDFP Political Consultant and Rey Claro Casambre, NDFP Consultant are likewise charged with rebellion. The Arroyo regime has turned the JASIG, a solemn instrument of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, into an Order of Battle (OB).

However, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) will remain a landmark agreement and a high standard for all who seek a just and lasting peace. The outstanding work of the NDFP-Nominated Section of the JS is powerful witness to the dedication, professional capability and courage of the personnel involved and to the courage of the victims, their families and pertinent organizations that filed the complaints.

The struggle for a just and lasting peace continues. The courageous Filipino people who have the proud tradition of militantly resisting foreign and domestic oppressors and exploiters, and who overthrew the Marcos dictatorship, will surely intensify their struggle against the Arroyo regime and build a just, democratic, peaceful and prosperous Philippines.

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