Individuals comprising what the NDF calls Third Party Facilitators signed a pledge of commitment saying “the road towards peace requires the respect for and adherence to international and other related humanitarian laws” and promised to give their time and efforts to ensure that the grenade blast victims “are indemnified in a prompt, successful and transparent manner.”
By MARILOU AGUIRRE-TUBURAN
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A group of individuals from the church, media, law profession and civil society is set to assist the indemnification of the underground National Democratic Front for the victims of grenade blast in Fatima village, Paquibato.
In an e-mailed statement, Bishop Modesto Villasanta of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines said they accepted the NDF’s request for the Exodus for Justice and Peace (EJP), a clergy-led peace advocacy alliance, to convene what the NDF called Third Party Facilitators.
In the past, EJP facilitated the release of NPA’s (New People’s Army) prisoners of war.
“I think it can be implied that this gesture from the NDFP is a manifestation of their willingness to make reparations to the civilian casualties, after harm has been inflicted on them,” Villasanta said in the statement.
The NPA’s Merardo Arce Command-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command owned up the Paquibato grenade blast. It cited the “gross mistake in judgment” on the part of one of its units as the reason of the more than 40 civilian casualties, including children.
Villasanta, who’s also the EJP convenor, said the NDFP acted on its responsibility under the Geneva Conventions and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
The commitment of a group of at least 24 private individuals and non-government organizations was obtained “to help in the successful completion of the process of indemnification,” said Villasanta.
“Any move that aims to heal the wounds of this civil war that has been going on for decades and that is in compliance with international humanitarian law deserves support from peace-loving individuals,” Villasanta said. He called on both parties of the armed conflict to immediately “resume the peace negotiations.”
The “Third Party Facilitators” signed a pledge of commitment on September 15. They declared that “the road towards peace requires the respect for and adherence to international and other related humanitarian laws” and promised to give their time and efforts to ensure that the grenade blast victims “are indemnified in a prompt, successful and transparent manner.” (Marilou Aguirre-Tuburan/davaotoday.com)World