Anakpawis urges Duterte to call off bombing runs, militarizing farmer communities

GRP-NDFP Panels announcing resumption of peace talks in Utrecht, Netherlands. Videograb from Kodao.GRP-NDFP Panels announcing resumption of peace talks in Utrecht, Netherlands. Videograb from Kodao.

On the resumption of GRP-NDFP peace talks
Anakpawis urges Duterte to call off bombing runs, militarizing farmer communities

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list today expressed optimism over the resumption of the peace negotiations between the government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) set on the first week of April. In this light, Anakpawis Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao urged the president to call off his pronouncement of bombing communities or even to “flatten hills” in pursuit of New People’s Army (NPA) guerrilla fighters, as well as military occupation of farmer commnunities.

“It is apparent that the president continue to heed the call for the resumption of the talks. Hence, we take advantage of this opportunity to demand respect of human rights, especially of non-combatants, against violations such as aerial bombings and military occupation of their communities,” Casilao said in a statement.

Casilao said that aerial bombings or shellings of communities run counter to the GRP-NDFP 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), that stated on Part III, Respect for Human Rights, Article No. 2, No. 15, “The right not to be subjected to forced evacuations, food and other forms of economic blockades and indiscriminate bombings, shellings, strafing, gunfire and the use of landmines,” and also to the internationally-recognized the Hague Convention of 1907, particularly the Convention respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, Article No. 125, “The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited.”

“To offset this, we strongly urge to fully commit on the agreements of both panels such as the full implementation of the JASIG, releases of the NDFP consultants, sickly, elderly and women political prisoners, as well as all, and ultimately implement CARHRIHL,” he said.

The Utrecht Joint Statement issued by both panels, included (1) reaffirmation of past agreements such as the JASIG, CARHRIHL and The Hague Joint Declaration; (2) ceasefires before the fourth round of formal talks in April; (3) release of a re-arrested NDFP consultant and ensure immunity of the consultants; (4) releases of NDFP consultants and political prisoners on humanitarian grounds; (5) safekeeping of the list under JASIG; (5) the forth round of talks will be on the first week of April and the fifth in June.

“The perspective for a sustained peace negotiations is standing and the only stumbling block and complication is the all-out war being waged by the AFP and DND, we urge the president against warmongering of the military, and stay firm on the road to peace,” Casilao said.

He cited the cases of the continuing military operation in Nasugbu, Batangas where 200 farmers were forcedly evacuated as soldiers conduct military operations; in Quirino province, peasants evacuated their communities to avoid clashes between the operating AFP and the NPA; in Mabini, Compostela Valley, the AFP indiscriminately dropped bombs in the villages of Del Pilar, Cabuyuan, Panggibiran, Libudon and Cadunanang. This is aside from the increasing number of farmer-victims to extra-judicial killings.

“I urge members of the House to keep watch of the development of the talks, as obviously, this would affect their respective constituents, also to stand firm in calling for the resumption of the talks and heed their constituents’ call for fundamental reforms,” Casilao urged. ###

Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel Casilao, 0998-985-2143
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