DAVAO CITY – Multi-sectoral leaders here called on government to open its doors and “be sincere” in pursuing peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front (NDF).
“I firmly believe that human rights and peace are interrelated concerns that our government should take up sincerely and seriously,” City councilor Leah Librado said in a statement during the commemoration of the 64th International Human Rights Day.
Peace talks with NDF was suspended in August 2004.
Among the reasons the NDF said when it pulled out of the talks was the US government inclusion of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) on its terrorist list.
Librado said that, “the resumption of peace talks would address the root cause of the problems of landlessness, unemployment, and many other forms of economic and political woes”.
“It is essential for the detained NDF consultants to be released,” where according to Karapatan (Human Rights organization) there are about 15 detained NDF consultants, she said “in order for the peace negotiation to continue“.
“I believe that those political prisoners are core developing and articulating the solutions for our century-old problems in the country, they must be freed without preconditions,” Librado said.
Reverend Arsen Sumeg-ang from the Missionaries of Jesus, said that with the spate of human rights violations, there is a need for the resumption of the pending peace negotiation”.
But he said that “we cannot see the government’s intention to achieve lasting peace that is why the pending peace talk is not being brought back to the table,” Sumeg-ang said.
“They [government] has conditions that are difficult to the other party [NDFP] to follow because of the rampant human rights violations that they are committing,” he said.
According to Karapatan, there are already 226 extrajudicial killings recorded from July 2010 up to November this year, all under Aquino’s administration.
“Can we still achieve peace if these injustices continue?” he asked. Sumeg-ang said “lasting peace will be achieved if basic human rights will be respected”.
“Even though the peace negotiation is not moving, if human rights are just respected, there will be peace, even not having peace talks.”
Reverend Jurie Jayme of Promotion of Church People’s Response, further said that “we could see that they [government] are not sincere in the resumption of peace talks because the Aquino administration maintains its anti-people stance”.
“It is clear that we could see how the big national capitalists benefited on the programs set by the present administration,” he added.
Based on the mid-year report this year of the Ibon Foundation, an independent research group, Aquino administration’s economic policies are “elite-biased.”
It said that the government policies “carry over the anti-people tendencies from decades of undemocratic and anti-nationalist governance and affirm the absence of real change.”
Ibon cited the government’s Public-Private partnership (PPP) which “uphold private profit and worsen government neglect.”
According to the PPP center website, “the Aquino administration identified the implementation of the PPP Program as a strategy of the government to accelerate the country’s infrastructure development and sustained economic growth.”
But according to Ibon, it stated the the problem with the PPP program “is the supply and pricing of the services for the public does not primarily determined by the need of the consumers”.
“This set-up is hardened by onerous contracts which is agreed to by the government, and by how these are interpreted amid a corporate investor-biased legal system which enshrines private property and profit over the social good,” the report said. (davaotoday.com)