On third round of talks: 392 political prisoners remain in jail, communities still attacked

“During the first round of peacetalks, the GRP already indicated its commitment to release political prisoners. But the third round of talks is opening with hundreds of political prisoners still in jail,” Jigs Clamor, Karapatan deputy secretary general, said. 
According to Karapatan, there are currently 392 political prisoners imprisoned in relation to the NDFP rebellion, 30 of them are elderly, 34 are women, and 122 of them are sick. “As a matter of justice and commitment, they should be released now,” Clamor concluded.

On the eve of the third round of formal peacetalks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), human rights group Karapatan and organizations under Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) held an action at the Mendiola bridge calling for the release of political prisoners. 

“Karapatan fully supports the NDFP-GRP peacetalks as it will tackle the more substantive Comprehensive Agreement on the Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER). The root causes of the armed conflict—extreme poverty, unequal distribution of resources, joblessness, lack of social services, etc.—may finally be addressed,” Clamor said.  "It is very alarming however, that even after its signing during first round of talks, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) continuous to be violated by the GRP," Clamor added.

“During their self-imposed ceasefire, troops under the Armed Forces of the Philippines remain in communities and are reported to be continuously intimidating, harassing and threatening residents. The AFP should pull out their troops NOW,” Clamor said. 

“We hope that the CASER will be agreed and signed based on the much needed socio-economic reforms and will be sincerely implemented—unlike the CARHRIHL, which the GRP is having a hard time to adhere to,” Clamor said. 

“The Duterte government should listen more to the demands of the people rather than to the whims of its military institution or profit-driven financial team. What the people demand are lasting reforms that will uplift their lives and dignity, no less,” Clamor concluded.