Category: BAYAN USA

Stop the Killings, Continue Towards Peace

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BAYAN-USA welcomes the news that the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) have forged an agreement to continue formal peace talks this April 2-6. We applaud the Filipino people and our allies worldwide for tirelessly clamoring for peace rooted in justice and long-term solutions to the crisis of poverty in the Philippines. The people’s perseverance has compelled the two parties to continue the peace talks, despite the many challenges faced along the way and to be tackled in the weeks and months to come.

At the same time, BAYAN-USA condemns the sharp escalation in human rights violations committed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines against poor communities and activists affiliated with the national democratic movement. The military’s extreme operations, under the deceitfully-named counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan (Operation Plan Peace), undermine the success of the peace talks. For example, since the inauguration of President Duterte last July, 43 activists have been arrested on false charges and 39 have been killed–20 of them since January and 16 since the government’s declaration of “all out war” on the New People’s Army. This is on top of the 7,000 people killed in the so-called “war on drugs.” Tens of thousands of residents of rural communities such as Sitio Tangis, Barangay Datal Anggas in Alabel, Sarangani and Pichon Village in Caraga, Davao Oriental have been bombed by the Philippine Army, and others have been forcibly evacuated and occupied by the military and paramilitary forces.

The Duterte administration must rein in its armed forces, paramilitary and police, terminate Oplan Kapayapaan, and terminate its war on drugs in order to create a climate conducive to successful negotiations. The GRP must also keep its promises to uphold previously signed agreements with the NDFP and release political prisoners, if its stated commitment to peace is to be taken seriously.

BAYAN-USA looks forward to the next rounds of peace talks, when the NDFP and GRP will discuss comprehensive socio-economic, political and constitutional reforms. If agreed upon and implemented, these reforms can help lead to the adequate and sustainable food, shelter, health, livelihood, and development that the Filipino people seek. Getting to these roots of the armed conflict in the Philippines is the only way to ensure a just and lasting peace.

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BAYAN-USA is an alliance of 20 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing students, scholars, women, workers, artists, and youth. As the first and largest international chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist and progressive Filipinos in the U.S. For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org.

Join Feb 10th CALL TO ACTION! CONTINUE THE PEACE TALKS! OPPOSE GOV’T CALL FOR ALL OUT WAR!

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President Duterte and the GRP have announced the cancellation of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), terminated the previous agreement JASIG, called for the immediate arrest of NDFP consultants, and declared an all out war on the New People’s Army–moves that resemble Oplan Bantay Laya I & II during Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo which resulted in major human rights violations against the legal organizations and people of the Philippines. The fight to resist further repression and human rights violations is a fight we must continue in the face of government repression. 

BAYAN USA demands to continue the peace talks because through it, the roots of the armed conflict can be tackled. It is in the interest of the people of the Philippines to continue negotiations for socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and to discuss and implement genuine land reform, national industrialization, economic sovereignty, social services and genuine development of the nation.

CALLS:

  • Continue the NDFP-GRP Peace Talks!

  • Oppose GRP All Out War!

  • Defend the Human Rights of the People!

 

Join the call for International Actions starting Feb 10th

We call on all supporters of peace to join the Philippines in taking action in your local areas!

  1. Hold a protest or rally to show international support for the continuation of the peace talks!

  2. Host an event on the Peace Talks in the Philippines!

    1. Check out & NE’s list of Philippine Solidarity week Actions & NY CHRP+ ICHRP’s Peace Forum

  3. Join online by using the Social Media Prompt Q&A style (need to add your answer):

    1. Q: Why should Peace Talks in the Philippines continue?

    2. Use Hashtags: #PeaceTalksItuloy #JustPeacePh

Other Dates proposed to take action:

  • Feb 17th- EDSA 2 (Oust Erap) People Power Anniversary

  • Feb 25th- EDSA People Power Anniversary

  • March 8th/9th- International Women’s Day

Release Ariel Arbitrario NOW! Continue the Peace Talks!

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After months of painstaking progress made by the movement for peace in the Philippines, President Duterte has taken a wrong turn by irrationally calling for the termination of peace negotiations between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). The President has even gone a step further in the wrong direction by threatening to arrest the NDFP peace consultants in the country as well as report those out of the country to international police. Despite the fact that Duterte’s pronouncements violate both the spirit and the letter of the agreements forged by both parties in the negotiations, NDFP representative from Mindanao Ariel Arbitario was held at a military checkpoint and arrested on February 6.

BAYAN USA calls for the immediate release of Ariel Arbitrario, who, since the time of his release in August 2016, had been working diligently to help the NDFP develop its program for the social and economic reforms needed to address the country’s chronic problems of hunger and poverty. Arbitario’s arrest violates the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), an agreement between the NDFP and GRP which was originally signed in 1995 and reaffirmed by the two parties just this past August 2016. We also call on President Duterte to release all political prisoners as he promised before and during the NDFP-GRP engagement in peace negotiations. Like Arbitrario, these prisoners are being held on trumped up charges and should never have been arrested in the first place. Their release is a matter of justice as well as a matter of compliance with the JASIG and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

We call for the continuation of the peace talks between the NDFP and the GRP, which can not be terminated by a mere statement by the President without a formal written termination per the JASIG agreement. We also call on the Duterte government to uphold all previously signed agreements and to rein in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which has continued to forcibly occupy communities and kill activists defending their land and livelihood. The AFP’s trampling of the people’s fundamental human rights is reminiscent of the bloody counterinsurgency campaigns Oplan Batay Laya and Oplan Bayanihan. The impunity continues now under Oplan Kapayapaan, exposing how the AFP was never serious about abiding by its ceasefire with the New People’s Army much less working for genuine peace. Instead, the AFP tried to take advantage of the situation to launch more attacks against the people and as a pacification campaign against the NPA.

In the latest round of peace negotiations, the main topic on the table was agreements on socio-economic reforms, the “meat of the peace talks.” These would begin to address the semi-feudal semi-colonial problems that have plagued the philippines and riddled it with growing poverty rooted in widespread landlessness and inadequate food production to feed the starving people, lack of jobs in the country with wages high enough to survive, and lack of development of national industries. Forging a path that leads to the solution of these problems so that the Filipino people can thrive in their homeland and not have to flee the country to survive–this is the most compelling reason to continue the peace talks, not terminate them.

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