Tuesday, June 06, 2006

2nd anniversary of the inauguration of the office of the Joint Secretariat of the Joint Monitoring Committee


by Luis G. Jalandoni
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
June 5, 2006

On the 2nd anniversary of the inauguration of the office of the Joint Secretariat of the Joint Monitoring Committee, I extend warmest congratulations to the NDFP-Nominated Section of the Joint Secretariat, to the members of the NDFP Monitoring Committee and the NDFP-Nominated independent observers, Bishop Tomas A. Millamena and Ms. Marie Hilao-Enriquez, and to all those who have helped the JS do its very significant work under the most difficult and risky conditions.

I wish to express our deep appreciation to the Royal Norwegian Government for giving moral and financial support to the JS as the third party facilitator of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, as well as to Bishop Deogracias Iniguez and Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco for facilitating the office of the JS.

We hailed the signing and approval of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) as a landmark achievement of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. We celebrated the inauguration of the JS office as the concrete proof of a mechanism of cooperation between the two Parties in the armed conflict to help the Joint Monitoring Committee to monitor the implementation of the CARHRIHL

It is an impressive achievement of the NDFP-Nominated Section of the JS to have screened and examined all the 693 complaints filed with the GRP-JS. This is made possible by the courage of the victims, the survivors, their families and pertinent organizations in taking the risk to file the complaints.

Since 34 are identical or similar incidents, the 659 complaints pertain to the following:

807 incidents of 2,196 violations involving 44,789 individuals, 2,830 families/households, 7 sitios/ barrios, 26 communities, 17 organizations, 1 factfinding mission team.

To specify further, out of the said complaints, there are 163 complaints of killings involving 265 victims. Of these 163 complaints � 22 are of massacres (involving 102 victims), 139 are summary executions (160 victims), and two are of deaths due to strafing (3 victims). There are also 31 complaints of enforced disappearances involving 45 victims.

These complaints reflect the alarming escalation of extrajudicial killings, frustrated killings and enforced disappearances. KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People�s Rights) has documented more than 600 extrajudicial killings, more than 200 frustrated killings and more than 150 enforced disappearances since the Arroyo regime assumed power in 2001. The regime has created a climate of impunity. It even promotes such cowardly killers like General Jovito Palparan who murders unarmed civilians. Motorcycle-riding assassins are on the rampage in a pattern similar to that of 1986 to 1988 when General Eduardo Ermita was Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations of the AFP. The killings follow the Operation Phoenix of the US in its war of aggression against Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, when Ermita was in Vietnam with John Negroponte, the current US intelligence chief The US Phoenix program aimed to destroy the political infrastructure of the Vietnamese liberation movement. It proved to be an utter failure.

Now, the Arroyo regime's Cabinet Oversight Committee for Internal Security (COC-IS) including General Ermita, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz, AFP Chief of Staff Generoso Senga, and PNP Chief Arturo Lomibao, among others, directs the killings and disappearances.

The regime, isolated by its massive electoral fraud, puppetry to the US, and anti-people and anti-national policies, clings to power by subserviently giving full support to the US �war on terror� and seeking to destroy the revolutionary armed movement and the legal democratic movement through its so-called counterinsurgency plan, Bantay Laya. Frustrated in its efforts to stop the growth of the revolutionary armed struggle and the legal democratic movement, the regime desperately resorts to vile fascist attacks against unarmed civilians and the democratic Left.

In the process, the regime has practically killed the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. It has invalidly suspended the safety and immunity guarantees provided for in the JASIG. It has charged with rebellion those who are involved in the peace negotiations and all those covered by the JASIG. NDFP political consultant, Sotero Llamas, was
assassinated by the regime's motorcycle-riding assassins last week. Rafael Baylosis and Randal Echanis, members of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on
Social and Economic Reforms, are charged with rebellion. Vicente Ladlad, NDFP Political Consultant and Rey Claro Casambre, NDFP Consultant are likewise charged with rebellion. The Arroyo regime has turned the JASIG, a solemn instrument of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, into an Order of Battle (OB).

However, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) will remain a landmark agreement and a high standard for all who seek a just and lasting peace. The outstanding work of the NDFP-Nominated Section of the JS is powerful witness to the dedication, professional capability and courage of the personnel involved and to the courage of the victims, their families
and pertinent organizations that filed the complaints.

The struggle for a just and lasting peace continues. The courageous Filipino people who have the proud tradition of militantly resisting foreign and domestic oppressors and exploiters, and who overthrew the Marcos dictatorship, will surely intensify their struggle against the Arroyo regime and build a just, democratic, peaceful and prosperous Philippines. #

GRP Must Respect the CARHRIHL and All Previously Signed Agreements
By Fidel V. Agcaoili
Co-Chairman, Joint Monitoring Committee
June 5, 2006

The Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) signed in 1998 between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) provides for the creation of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) and the Joint Secretariat (JS). The JMC is tasked to monitor the implementation of the CARHRIHL while the JS acts as its administrative and technical staff. The JMC and the JS are composed of an equal number of nominees recommended respectively by the GRP and the NDFP. As of 8 May 2006, the JMC through the JS has received 799 complaints of alleged violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. 693 of these complaints are against the forces of the GRP and 106 against the forces of the NDFP. The CARHRIHL stipulates that these complaints shall be investigated jointly by the JMC and separately by the GRP and the NDFP in accordance with their respective processes. The CARHRIHL also stipulates that, in the performance of its tasks, the JMC �shall meet every three months and as often as deemed necessary by the co-chairpersons�. However, since its last meeting on 15 April 2004, the JMC has not met again. The GRP has refused any JMC meetings until the resumption of formal talks which the GRP itself has suspended. Moreover, the implementation of the CARHRIHL is not dependent on the formal talks of the peace negotiations. Thus, the JMC has not conducted any joint investigation of the abovementioned complaints. Meanwhile, the JS continues to receive complaints of alleged violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. It is now entering its 3rd year of operations with the support and assistance of the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) coursed through the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD), a Swiss-based organization. Since 2001, human rights violations have escalated with impunity. These have become worse than during the Marcos martial law period, especially in brutality and brazenness. Even the JS itself and its staff have not been spared from threats and attacks, despite the fact that the JS is part of the joint mechanism of the GRP and NDFP in the implementation of the CARHRIHL. Only last week, the head of the NDFP-nominated section, Marissa P. Dumanjug-Palo, was trailed by four helmeted men in two motorcycles. Earlier, another NDFP-nominated member of the JS, Irein M. Cuasay, was threatened with arrest on trumped-up charges of libel. In February and March 2006, attempts were made by the GRP Department of Justice (DOJ) to serve subpoena at the JS offices against 13 persons charged with rebellion. These GRP violations of the CARHRIHL are compounded not only by the escalating violations of human rights, but also by its continuing non-compliance of provisions in the CARHRIHL that call for the repeal of all subsisting repressive laws, decrees and other executive issuances, such as Batas Pambansa 880 (used to justify the policy of calibrated preemptive response), review of GRP jurisprudence on warrantless arrest (Umil vs. Ramos, used to detain Rep. Crispin Beltran), and indemnification of the victims of human rights violations during the time of Marcos out of the monies that were turned over by the Swiss government to the Philippine National Bank in a custodianship agreement. The GRP has not only violated and mocked the CARHRIHL, it has also practically killed the peace negotiations when, among others, it turned the list of persons covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) into a list of persons charged with rebellion, and then converting said list into an Order of Battle with the brutal assassination of Sotero Llamas (number 15) on 29 May 2006 and the abduction and disappearance of Philip Limjoco (number 23) on 8 May 2006. Had it been operational to carry out its tasks, the JMC could have been of value to both the GRP and the NDFP. But the Macapagal-Arroyo regime is determined to scuttle the peace negotiations, adopting a militarist solution to the armed conflict after conniving with the US and the European Union in the �terrorist listing� of the CPP/NPA and Prof. Jose Maria Sison in August 2002. The members of the NDFP in the JMC hold the Macapagal-Arroyo regime responsible for the escalating violations of human rights and the scuttling of the peace negotiations.#

No comments: