Peace advocates under the Kapayapaan network welcomed Vice President Jejomar Binay’s recent pronouncement that he would pursue peace talks.
In a statement, Binay said he recognizes the need to “address the root causes of the armed conflict” attributing these to “poverty, inequality, injustice”.
University of the Philippines professor and Kapayapaan spokesperson, Lito Manalili, said Binay’s statement is a “breath of fresh air” amid the Aquino administration’s lack of political will in pursuing talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). “The Aquino administration deals with the GPH-NDFP peace talks as part of its counterinsurgency program instead of decisively addressing the roots of the armed conflict,” Manalili said.
At the same time, Kapayapaan challenged Binay to go beyond general motherhood statements and uphold and support previously signed bilateral agreements such as the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig). P
“What is Binay’s stand on the killings of our Lumad brothers and sisters in Mindanao by rampaging military and paramilitary forces? What is his stand on the use of paramilitary forces for the protection of mining interests? What is his stand on the arrest and detention of NDFP consultants in violation of JASIG?” Manalili asked.
Kapayapaan challenged all presidential candidates to take a stand on the internal displacement of civilians in conflict areas and take concrete steps to address the sufferings of civilians, especially women and children.
Manalili also called on all candidates to uphold and honor the Hague Joint Declaration. “The Hague Joint Declaration provides the framework in addressing the roots of the armed conflict. Both parties should respect what they have signed and go back to the negotiating table without preconditions,.” Manalili said.
In a related development, Kapayapaan also commended Senator Loren Legarda’s call for the resumption of peace talks with the NDFP.
In her statement released this week, Legarda said, “One may not necessarily agree with the NDFP’s alternative vision of Philippine society, but no one can doubt the integrity of their patriotism or the depth of their commitment to help bring about a more just and a more humane society. That is why we want the government and the NDFP to iron out their differences and address the root causes of the armed conflict.”
“We could not agree more with Senator Legarda,” Manalili said.
Kapayapaan also welcomed Legarda’s move to investigate the escalation of human rights violations in Lianga, Surigao del Sur. Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, filed Senate Resolution No. 1575 and expressed concern over the spate of killings of Lumad leaders.
Three Lumad leaders were killed by alleged paramilitary forces on Sept. 1 in Lianga. More than 3,000 evacuees are now staying at the Tandag City sports center. ###
Reference: Prof. Angelito Manalili, 09279138230