Release of NDFP consultants vital to resumption of peace talks
The release of detained consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines is crucial in the resumption of the peace talks. It is not a mere precondition but an affirmation of the Philippine government’s commitment to pursue the long-stalled peace process by honoring previously signed agreements.
The incarceration of NDFP consultants is unjust. They are illegally detained under trumped-up charges and are being subjected to inhumane prison conditions. To prolong their detention is to condone injustice and defeats the Filipino workers and people’s aspirations for a peace that is based on justice.
The illegal and unjust detention of NDFP consultants violates previously signed agreements such as the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHIHL). The government peace panel also committed to release the 22 NDFP consultants and all political prisoners in the Oslo Joint Statement which was signed last June 15, 2016.
If the Duterte administration wants to prove its sincerity in achieving just and lasting peace, the least it could do is honor their commitments and signed agreements.
President Duterte must also stop issuing provocative statements and setting preconditions that could be used by warmongers in the Armed Forces of the Philippines to justify their brutal attack against civilian peasant and Lumad communities in the countryside.
Workers call on President Duterte to affirm his commitment to resume peace talks with the NDFP by honoring previously signed agreements and release the 22 illegally detained peace consultants, among which are unionists and labor rights advocates who play crucial roles in raising workers’ issues and demands in the peace negotiations.
We demand the immediate release of NDFP consultants Adelberto Silva, Renante Gamara, Ernesto Lorenzo and Benito and Wilma Tiamzon. We also demand the junking of trumped-up charges against NDFP consultant and former KMU vice chairperson for political and external affairs Rafael Baylosis.