Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao condemned the illegal arrest of a National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Rommel Salinas and his companions, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) Bishop Carlos Morales, his wife and their driver in Ozamis City, Misamis Occidental. Salinas is protected under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) of the government (GRP) and NDFP, and a holder of Document of Identification Number ND 978453 under the name of Hermie Abella. The lawmaker, a member of the Special Committee on Peace and Reconciliation and will act as observer to the 5th round of GRP – NDFP formal talks this end of May in Netherlands, demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Salinas.
“The arrest of Salinas is a peace-spoiling action by the militarists, those who oppose a just and lasting peace in the country, this is akin to ‘arresting those who you are talking peace with,’” Casilao said in a press statement.
The activist solon slammed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), particularly the 1st Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, for working contrary to the peace agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“They are either ignorant or consciously undermining the president’s platform, he reiterated recently that he is not a wartime president and pronounced the release of 14 convicted ‘rebels,’ that shows he really wanted peace in the country, and the talks with the NDFP is an effective track for its attainment,” Casilao said.
Casilao said that it is becoming a regular episode that President Duterte is promoting and opening for the peace talks with the NDFP, but the AFP continues to wreak havoc among activists and farmers communities. The recent is the on-going militarization by forces under the 10th Infantry Division of Brgy. Dominga, Calinan District in Davao City, that already resulted to mass evacuation of more than 100 farmer families.
“We urge peace-loving sectors to join the clamor for the release of Salinas and all political prisoners, and oppose the peace-spoiling of the AFP and continued killings of farmers in the countryside,” he urged.
Anakpawis is also pressing for support for the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), that highlights free distribution of land to farmers and rights of working class sectors. ###