Groups urge government to resume talks with rebels

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Saturday, May 17, 2014


PROGRESSIVE groups have appealed for the resumption of the peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), saying it will deter human rights violations committed among soldiers, rebels and civilians.

Makabayan president Satur Ocampo, in a press conference at the UCCP Haran at Madapo Hills in Davao City Friday, noted that since President Benigno Aquino III's first state of the nation address in 2010, a total of 192 extra-judicial killings have been recorded and it has been attributed to the stalled GPH-NDFP peace talks in 2011.

"Kung ongoing pa sana ang peace talks, meron pa sanang suspension of hostilities at mai-implement ng maayosang Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL) kahit pahinto-hintoang peace talks," Ocampo said.

He also said that the pertinent agreements in the GPH-NDFP peace talk before it was stalled were the socio-economic, political and constitutional reforms, disposition of forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the New People's Army and the full implementation of the CAHRIHL.

"Kung nafully-implement ang CAHRIHL meron sana tayong investigating body with three representatives from the GPH and three from the NDFP. Iimbestigahan ang mga alleged human rights violations and mabibigyan ng kaukulang parusa ang violators whether they are from the army or the NPA. Mabibigyan din ng compensation ang mga civilian victims," Ocampo added.

Cristina Palabay of Karapatan, meanwhile, said that the government could rather spend part of its budget for humanitarian reasons and funding the peace talks instead of putting in funds for the integration of the Oplan Bayanihan of the Philippine Army.

"Kung patuloyang funding nila para sa Oplan Bayanihan, hindi maiiwasan na may human rights violations dahil mai-intensify angkanilang military operations while ang NPA will continue to resist. So kung pwede nalang sanang bigyan nalang nilang budget ang peace talks para naman maiwasan na ang mga paglabag sa karapatang pantao," Palabay said.

She added that if the GPH and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have reached an agreement through the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, she is confident that the GPH-NDFP peace talks may also reach an agreement.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 18, 2014.

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