Karapatan Position Paper Submitted to the Public Hearing of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights
August 22-23, 2016 | by Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, Karapatan
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly stated that one of the biggest problems in Philippine society is the proliferation of illegal drugs and the evils that come with it. The heinousness of crimes brought about by drug addiction is undeniable - the rapes and murders of women and young girls, even babies and mothers, the butchered bodies, and all else inhuman. While it is true, that this problem should be cut to the core, the solution is not as easy as one would exterminate termites.
Karapatan welcomed the resumption of formal peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) today, August 22, 2016, as "an important occasion in the struggle for just and lasting peace in the Philippines."
Karapatan welcomes the release of thirteen political prisoners. It is optimistic that recently released consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines will have a meaningful and substantial participation to the resumption of the formal NDFP-GRP peacetalks.
BREAKING NEWS: NDFP consultant Adelberto Silva was released this afternoon from MMDJ-SICA 1.
While we welcome Silva's release, we are concerned over PNP Custodial Center Warden Arnel Apud's callousness in facilitating the release of NDFP consultants Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, despite the issuance of release orders for them in the four local courts.
Release Benito and Wilma Tiamzon now!
Release all detained NDFP consultants now! Release all political prisoners!
We, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) peace consultants, who are being released today, and others expecting to be released the next few days, in time for the resumption of formal peace talks with the present Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and, in the spirit of overcoming a long-standing main barrier to the peace talks, appreciate that the matter of the questionable, if not dubious, arrest and detention of NDF peace consultants by previous regimes is now being rectified by the new Duterte regime.
We appreciate, too, the higher ups' immediate and direct intervention to overcome petty bureaucratic hitches that have delayed, at the implementation level of some courts and local jail authorities, the release of a number of detained NDF peace consultants.
We see such interventions as indications of the new Duterte regime's real interest that the resumption of the NDF-GRP peace and talks would immediately be pulled through, and that barriers to such would be overcome.