Statement of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Eastern Visayas (NDF-EV)
The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas (NDF-EV) today called on the Church, the media, human rights and peace advocates, and other sectors in the region to give the widest possible support for the resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). “We in NDF-EV call on the Church and other sectors to heed the plight of the poor and downtrodden in expressing their support for the peace talks between the GPH and the NDFP,” said Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. “The NDF-EV urges the bishops in the region to take the giant step of promoting the peace talks to address the root causes of the civil war.”
Fr. Salas noted that the Church and other sectors have to strive to promote the peace talks in light of the continuing militarization and impunity for human rights violations under the previous regime’s Oplan Bayanihan. “The 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army appears to ignore President Rodrigo Duterte’s proffering of the olive branch to the NDFP. It continues to carry out widespread military operations in the hinterlands of Northern Samar and other areas in Samar and Leyte. Thus it is but timely for peace advocates to promote the peace talks through by raising public awareness, campaigning for the release of NDFP peace consultants and all political prisoners, public discussion of GPH policies and the NDFP’s 12-point program, and other propaganda and education initiatives.”
The NDF-EV spokesperson added, “The national democratic movement is open to a progressive and pro-people alliance with the Duterte regime. Such an alliance serves to advance national freedom and democracy. But there are also limitations such as that Duterte still heads a reactionary ruling system and is under pressure by US imperialism and other reactionaries. While engaging with the Duterte regime, it is thus important for the people to continue to build their democratic strength both in the cities and the countryside, for defending and advancing their basic interests.”
He urged the people to conduct campaigns on various issues and arouse, organize and mobilize the greatest numbers. “There is the issue of the immediate medical attention for old and ailing political prisoners, who also deserve to be released as soon as possible. We cite the case of Renato Baleros, who is a senior citizen and was recently rushed to the hospital in serious condition due to sepsis. His health is deteriorating behind bars and he deserves immediate release on humanitarian grounds.
“Furthermore, we note that most Typhoon Yolanda survivors have yet to avail of the so-called emergency shelter assistance and other forms of support from the government. In the countryside, the peasants also continue to suffer from the lack of a genuine agrarian reform program, as well as from no government support such as free irrigation, pesticides, seeds and fertilizers. For example, in Northern Samar, thousands of peasants face hunger and poverty from the pest infestation of their rice, abaca and coconut crops.”
Fr. Salas also urged the peasants, workers, youth and students and other basic sectors to discuss the peace talks and disseminate the NDFP’s 12-point program in the barrios, workplaces, schools and communities. “The peace talks are just one of the forms of legal struggle. Various sectors can avail of the peace negotiations as an opportunity to widely promote and discuss the NDFP 12-point program as the correct and just framework to address the root causes of the civil war and attain a just and lasting peace.”
The NDF-EV spokesperson reiterated the NDFP’s 12-point program:
- Unite the people for the overthrow of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal system through a people’s war and for the completion of the national democratic revolution.
- Establish a people’s democratic republic and a democratic coalition government.
- Build the people’s revolutionary army and the people’s defense system.
- Uphold and promote the people’s democratic rights.
- Terminate all unequal relations with the United States and other foreign entities.
- Implement genuine agrarian reform, promote agricultural cooperation, raise rural production and employment through the modernization of agriculture and rural industrialization and ensure agricultural sustainability.
- Break the combined dominance of the US and other imperialists, big compradors and landlords over the economy. Carry out national industrialization and build an independent and self-reliant economy.
- Adopt a comprehensive and progressive social policy.
- Promote a national, scientific and pro-people culture.
- Uphold the rights to self-determination and democracy of the Moro people, Cordillera peoples and other national minorities or indigenous peoples.
- Advance the revolutionary emancipation of women in all spheres.
- Adopt an active, independent and peaceful foreign policy.
Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
July 12, 2016
Photo (c) Facebook account of NDF-EV Media Officer