February 6, 2017
Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580
Duterte’s backing out from peace talks will bring more suffering to the people – Karapatan
Karapatan strongly urges President Rodrigo R. Duterte to rethink his statement on the termination of peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Both Parties have expressed that the road to a just and lasting peace is not an easy one, but has several bumps and roadblocks. Pres. Duterte should be prepared to encounter these problems in solving the armed conflict.
Pres. Duterte should see that one big roadblock is the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) being warmongers and peace saboteurs, within and outside the peace process.
Political killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and detention, threats and harassment of village residents – all these, and more, were perpetrated without let-up by the Armed Forces of the Philippines during the period of the GRP’s so-called unilateral ceasefire. The AFP’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan was still in play, with the military’s so-called “peace and development” teams coercing and threatening local government officials and residents as they continued to encamp in peasants’ homes, schools, and barangay halls. This is the reason why the residents, the victims and their families have repeatedly called on the GRP to pull out the AFP troops from their communities and to stop Oplan Bayanihan. OpBay ironically has been replaced with Oplan Kapayapaan!
In January 2017 alone, at least four peasant activists were killed by state security forces. The following month, on February 3, Lumad leader Renato Anglao, 42, Secretary General of TINDOGA (Tribal Indigenous Oppressed Group Association), was killed by three men on board a motorcycle. TINDOGA, an indigenous people’s organization of the Manobo-Pulangion tribe in Brgy. Botong, Quezon, Bukidnon, has consistently opposed the entry of agri-business plantations in the ancestral land of the lumad. The tribe won back their land and secured its title two years ago. This happened despite moves by the Lorenzo clan to encroach on the land through Rancho Montalvan owned by Maramag Vice Mayor Pablo Lorenzo. Leaders and members of TINDOGA have subsequently been accused of supporting the communist-led New People’s Army.
Violation of Civil and Political Rights under the Rodrigo Duterte Government
August 21, 2016 to January 31, 2017
Based on reports gathered by Karapatan
Violation of Civil & Political Rights Under the Rodrigo Duterte Government (August 21, 2016 to January 31, 2017)
No. of Victims
Frustrated Extrajudicial Killing
Illegal Arrest without Detention
Illegal Arrest and Detention
Illegal Search and Seizure
Physical Assault and Injury
Violation of Domicile
Divestment of Property
Forced Labor/Involuntary Servitude
Use of Civilians in Police and/or Military Operations as Guides and/or Shield
Use of Schools, Medical, Religious and Other Public Places for Military Purpose
Restriction or Violent Dispersal of Mass Actions, Public Assemblies and Gatherings
The AFP’s unilateral ceasefire is exposed as a sham by the state military’s continued attacks against people’s rights hiding behind the so-called “peace and development” operations. The AFP is stretching the opportunities for veiled intelligence and combat operations to gain military advantage. It is provoking the CPP-NPA-NDFP to withdraw its unilateral ceasefire to protect its territories, mass base and the people.
Pres. Duterte himself admitted that the AFP is standing in the way of the release of political prisoners. Also, treating political prisoners as aces of the GRP in its peace negotiations with the NDFP is hardly an act of peace.
Ultimately, it is the people who will suffer from the absence of GRP-NDFP official peace talks. History has shown that militarist measures such as counter-insurgency programs never led to the solution of armed rebellion in the country. They instead lead to human and people’s rights violations against the masses in rural and urban communities.
It is only through earnest discussions and efforts to realize social, economic, and political reforms and fundamental changes can there be a solution to poverty, unemployment, slave labor, landlessness, lack of social services and the like. The struggling Filipinos will continue to fight for a just and lasting peace.
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.