Gov’t to create new panel for localized peace talks
Marje Pelayo • March 21, 2019 • 2306
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has terminated the appointments of the members of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) negotiating panel.
But the decision, according to Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. will pave the way for the creation of a holistic panel that will supervise localized peace negotiations.
The termination of services of the members of the panel was officially terminated last March 18, based on the letter from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea addressed to the GRP panel members.
The decades-long peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), which represents the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), has been intermittent since it began in 1986.
Galvez said the negotiations yielded nothing beneficial for the government.
With the termination of the peace panel, the implementation of the Hague Declaration and Comprehensive Agreement for the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws (CARHRIHL) is now temporarily on hold until the Office of the President has evaluated and reviewed all past agreements with the NDFP.
In response to the issue, NDFP Founding Chairman and Chief Political Consultant Joma Sison in a statement on Thursday (March 21) accused President Duterte of having no interest in the peace negotiations because “he has always schemed to use the armed conflict as an excuse for carrying out martial law nationwide” and “in order to realize and impose fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people.”
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a press briefing said Sison “read it wrongly.”
“That’s why there will be creation of panels, it’s localized. That would be more favorable to them,” Panelo concluded.
The new panel, Panelo said, will commission representatives from different sectoral groups, local government units, and the military. – Marje Pelayo
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government, through the Anti-terrorism Council (ATC), has declared the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as a terrorist organization.
In a resolution dated June 23, 2021, the ATC said it found probable cause to designate the NDFP — also known as National Democratic Front (NDF) — “as a terrorist group of persons, organization, or association for having committed, or attempting to commit or conspire in the commission of the acts defined and penalized under Sections, 7, 10, and 12 the Anti-terrorism Act of 2020 (ATA).”
According to the resolution, the ATC referred to the NDFP as an “integral and inseparable part” of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) which was formally tagged as a terrorist group in December last year.
The NDFP’s designation follows the terrorist designation of CPP founder, Jose Maria Sison and his wife Juliet, by the ATC.
Moreover, the resolution said, Sison further highlighted NDF’s connection with the CPP/NPA when he identified the CPP/NPA as allied organizations of the NDFP in his message for the NDF’s 48th anniversary in April 2021.
MANILA, Philippines — Self-exiled communist leader Jose Maria “Joma” Sison on Thursday shrugged off the government’s move to designate him and other alleged high-ranking members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as “terrorists.”
Sison and his wife were among the 29 individuals designated as terrorists in a resolution published by the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC).
Sison, who is in the Netherlands, said he and his spouse are “not at all bothered” by the inclusion of their names in the list.
“To start with, the list of names in the designation appears to be arbitrary, dubious, and even contradictory or inconsistent with the various public and purportedly personal statements even of its own NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) evil minions,” he said.
“Moreover, it includes mostly publicly-known political consultants of the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) Negotiating Panel in the peace negotiations with the Manila government who are all entitled to the protection of the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement of Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and other binding bilateral agreements,” he added.
He, however, admitted worrying about the welfare of other personalities tagged in the list who are staying in the Philippines.
“We are not bothered even by the threats of Duterte death squads coming over to hit us which have been persistently reported to us by various sources. We have been alert to these threats,” Sison said. “Our main concern is for those who are in the Philippines and are designated by the aforesaid resolution and many more people who are red-tagged and vulnerable to the criminal violence of the Duterte regime.”
Under Resolution No. 17 dated April 21, the Anti-Terrorism Council formally tagged Sison and 18 other alleged high-ranking members of CPP’s Central Committee as terrorists.
The resolution, signed by Executive Secretary and ATC chairperson Salvador Medialdea, and National Security Adviser, and ATC vice-chair Hermogenes Esperon Jr., was published in a local newspaper on Thursday.
In a separate resolution, ten members of different local terrorist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and the Daulah Islamiyah have also been designated as terrorists.
These individuals are accused of conspiring, planning, and preparing for the commission of terrorism, covered by Sections 6, 7, and 10 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
“Based on verified and validated information, the ATC found probable cause, as defined I the Anti-Terrorism Act, warranting the designation of the following center committee members of the CPP… for planning, preparing, facilitating, conspiring, and inciting the commission of terrorism and recruitment and membership in a terrorist organization or a group organized for the purpose of engaging in terrorism,” the resolution read.
Under Section 25 of the Anti-Terrorism Law, the ATC has the authority to designate individuals, groups of individuals, organizations, or associations as terrorists without a court hearing.
This will allow the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze the assets of designated personalities or organizations.
Individuals tagged as terrorists have 15 days to file a request for delisting.
MANILA, Philippines – Anakpawis leader and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Randall Echanis sustained multiple injuries, but a stab wound to the back caused his death, an expert said Friday.
Forensic pathologist Raquel Fortun, who conducted an autopsy on Echanis, said the peasant leader died after sustaining a stab wound that hit his aorta.
Fortun also said Echanis had head injuries and a laceration.
Echanis and another male, Louie Tagapia, were found killed last August 10 at a rented apartment in Novaliches, Quezon City.
Police investigators earlier said they are looking at robbery and personal grudges as possible motives for the killing. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)
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