Author Archives: philpeacecenternet

NUPL to DND: Stop Philippine Army’s violations of detained persons’ rights, harassment of human rights lawyers and weaponization of anti-terrorism laws

Letters (see bottom) from the NUPL and Nieves Lizada, mother of detained activist Mary Joyce Lizada, to new DND Secretary Gilberto Teodoro are refused receipt by AFP personnel in Camp Aguinaldo.

National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers
July 7, 2023

The Philippine government must ensure the strict compliance by its national security forces with domestic and international laws protecting the basic rights of persons deprived of liberty and impose all necessary sanctions on those who ceaselessly and obstinately transgress these obligations.

In the first half of 2023, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) has observed a disturbing pattern of disrespect of the rights of human rights defenders accused of committing terrorism and terrorism-related offenses in Southern Luzon. They have been charged for allegedly providing material support to terrorists under Republic Act No. 11479 for extending assistance to farmworkers, indigenous peoples, and victims of militarization in the region, where there are now 13 pending cases of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses.

Some of these rights defenders are now being kept in military encampments and deprived of their right to be visited by family and assisted by competent and independent counsel. Lawyers of their choice as well as of their families have been prohibited from visiting them in violation of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and Republic Act No. 11479 (Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained, or Under Custodial Investigation). NUPL, as counsel for two indigenous peoples’ rights activists who have been detained in Camp Capinpin, had twice been denied access to the said clients.

The lawyers themselves have been demonized and hindered from discharging their professional duties. In one instance, lawyers from SENTRA have been accused before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Region IV-A of harassment and intimidation by an army sergeant for trying to pass through a military checkpoint and asserting their clients’ right to counsel during a quick reaction team (QRT). The QRT was intended to gain access to two sugar farmworkers and an elderly person who were abducted by the military in late March in Balayan, Batangas.

Three young rights defenders from Southern Tagalog are also facing trumped-up complaints of terrorism and providing material support to terrorists in retaliation for the humanitarian missions they conducted on the killing of nine year old Kyllene Casao in Taysan, Batangas.

We urge the Philippine government, particularly the Department of National Defense, to enforce within the ranks of its security forces the fulfillment of detainees’ basic rights without distinction or discrimination of any kind as well as to respect the independent exercise of the legal profession, especially by human rights lawyers. We note that brazen violations of these rights and liberties have caused an alarming rise in the occurrence of torture, cruel and inhumane treatment or punishment that led to the forced or fake surrenders of civilians labeled as “rebel returnees.” The misuse of counter-terrorism laws through the filing of trumped-up complaints by military personnel has also suppressed freedoms and constricted civic space.

We further submit the following calls to the newly appointed Secretary of National Defense Atty. Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro, which he is empowered to heed and implement in exercising supervision over the Armed Forces of the Philippines under Executive Order No. 292 (Administrative Code of 1987) and in his capacity as the alter ego of the Commander-in-Chief:

  1. All arrested, detained or imprisoned persons, regardless of status, shall be provided with adequate opportunities, time and facilities to be visited by and to communicate and consult with a lawyer, without delay, interception or censorship and in full confidentiality;
  2. Lawyers should be allowed to travel and to consult with their clients freely and should not suffer, or be threatened with prosecution, administrative or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics; and,
  3. The military should refrain from filing trumped-up cases of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses against persons engaged in humanitarian activities and legitimate exercises of free speech and expression, such as advocacy, protest, and dissent, as well as from deliberately providing incorrect addresses of respondents while instituting complaints before prosecutorial offices.
  4. The military personnel and commanding officers responsible for the foregoing incidents must immediately be investigated and made to account for their human rights violations.
    Activism is not a crime. Stop the attacks!

Atty. Ephraim B. Cortez
NUPL President | +639172092943
Atty. Josalee S. Deinla
NUPL Secretary General | +639174316396


On the NTF-ELCAC Legal Cooperation Cluster’s statement dismissing calls for probe on the deaths of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria

National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers
April 25, 2023

In reaction to our statements calling for accountability for the reported inhumane treatment and brutal killings of our clients Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria, the NTF-ELCAC Legal Cooperation Cluster pointed out in a statement the evidentiary rule that “burden of proof lies on those who assert” and that “the mere fact that “these 2 CTG-affiliated groups are calling for a probe” is “a clear proof that they are lying and can’t prove their perverted claim.”

These types of comments are non-sequitur and unduly place the burden on human right lawyers and defenders to conduct a probe, which the government is bound to do, gather evidence, and initiate prosecution of the reported war crimes.

They also sidestep the fact that the military claimed at the first instance and for the longest time a “waterborne interdiction operation conducted against a hostile motorized boat” that likely included the Tiamzon spouses. It is also a matter of fact that military sources took down their social media posts which reported the Tiamzon spouses as among the casualties of the said operation.

Hence, it was neither the NUPL nor many other concerned entities and individuals who were alarmed with the subsequent contrary report that the Tiamzon spouses and their companions were supposedly captured, tortured, murdered, and desecrated especially because there are abundant precedents and predictable patterns to support a reasonable basis to question the official military account.

Instead of welcoming a legitimate call that seeks to uphold international humanitarian law or the law of armed conflict and settle once and for all these contrary accounts, it is regrettable that colleagues in the legal profession and co-officers of the court – coming from the top officer of the government’s legal arm no less – would need to resort to hateful and gratuitous name-calling against fellow lawyers by casually labeling us as “CTG (communist terrorist group)-affiliated” or “CPP NPA NDF front” sans competent, credible and admissible evidence.

This has unfortunately endangered our lives and impeded the independent discharge of our professional duties, especially since we in NUPL are compelled to handle cases that most of our colleagues in the profession cannot, would not, or do not – for reasons we respect – handle.

While we may differ in views, opinions and positions – just like we do in court – we should all endeavor to keep our professional dealings civil and fair, use only dignified language, avoid low blows, and refrain from promoting an unsafe environment in any setting, as we are mandated to do as lawyers under the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability and out of basic respect for our fellow human beings.
We expect nothing less from our fellow lawyers. Let us keep it fair and square, if you please.#

Atty. Ephraim B. Cortez
NUPL President | +639172092943
Atty. Josalee S. Deinla
NUPL Secretary General | +639174316396

NUPL to gov’t: Do your job, keep it fair and square

Kodao Productions
April 26, 2023

Human rights lawyers said it is the government that should investigate allegations of war crimes in connection with the reported death of top Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon.

Reacting to a statement made by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) Legal Cooperation Cluster, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said the government is bound to gather evidence and initiate prosecution of those connected with the alleged torture and execution of the Tiamzons.

The NTF ELCAC earlier said that those who made the allegations, including the NUPL bear the burden of proof, adding that the lawyers’ group and human rights group Karapatan are affiliated with the CPP.

The task force added the mere fact that both the NUPL and Karapatan are demanding an investigation are “a clear proof that they are lying and can’t prove their perverted claim.”

The NUPL however reminded the government that it is the State’s duty to conduct investigations on complaints of rights violations.

“These types of comments are non-sequitur (illogical) and unduly place the burden on human rights lawyers and defenders to conduct a probe,” the NUPL said.

The lawyers added that it was the military that first reported the supposed waterborne firefight that may have killed the Tiamzons and eight others in August 2022, but later took down their social media posts on the matter.

Keep it professional

When citizens complain of rights violations, the government should welcome it as part of its commitment to uphold international humanitarian law, the NUPL said.

Instead, government lawyers—colleagues in the legal professions and co-officers of the court, are choosing to resort to “hateful and gratuitous name-calling” by labeling human rights attorneys as “CTG (communist terrorist group)-affiliated or CPP, New People’s Army and National Democratic Front of the Philippines front without competed, credible and admissible evidence,” they said.

The NUPL was reacting to Assistant Solicitor General Angelita Miranda, a member of NTF ELCAC’s Legal Cooperation Cluster, who alleged that both NUPL and Karapatan are fronting for Communist groups.

The NUPL said such practice endangers their lives and prevents them from independently performing their duties as lawyers.

“Especially since we in NUPL are compelled to handle cases that most of our colleagues in the profession cannot, would not, or do not – for reasons we respect – handle,” the group said.

“While we may differ in views, opinions and positions – just like we do in court – we should all endeavor to keep our professional dealings civil and fair, use only dignified language, avoid low blows, and refrain from promoting an unsafe environment in any setting, as we are mandated to do as lawyers under the Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability and out of basic respect for our fellow human beings,” the NUPL asked.

“We expect nothing less from our fellow lawyers. Let us keep it fair and square, if you please,” NUPL added. #

(Raymund B. Villanueva)

Barbarous killings of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria are grave breaches of international humanitarian law

National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL)
April 21, 2023

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) strongly condemns the cold-blooded murders of CPP leaders Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria and their unidentified companions. The Tiamzon spouses are the latest NUPL clients to be killed under the government’s practice of giving no quarters to members and peace consultants of the underground revolutionary movement who were not engaging in hostilities or were manifestly unable to defend themselves.

The reported manner of killings, signs of torture on the unarmed victims’ bodies and the insidious cover-up involving the explosion and sinking of a “hostile boat” in the waters of Catbalogan City, Northern Samar, all point to the commission of war crimes by the military.

These grave breaches of international humanitarian law expose the injustice of the current counterterrorism framework, which blurs the distinction between armed conflict and terrorism, enables the arbitrary terrorist designation of parties to the protracted armed struggle, and enfeebles the application of protective legal norms to hors de combat, prisoners of war, and protected persons.

The government is, thus, called upon to fulfill its obligation to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law in all circumstances as stated in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Protocols, the domestic Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, and even the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

This non-derogable obligation includes the duty to recognize the equal applicability of international humanitarian law to both parties of an armed conflict and to hold the military to account for the inhumane treatment and deaths not only of the Tiamzon spouses but of many other casualties of its war crimes.

It must also realize that further using ruthless counterterrorism tactics in tandem with draconian anti-people laws and issuances while neglecting to resolve the roots of the armed conflict will not only subvert public trust in our legal institutions and processes but also foment the people’s indignation and continue to undermine the possibility of achieving a just and lasting peace.#

Atty. Ephraim B. Cortez
NUPL President | +639172092943
Atty. Josalee S. Deinla
NUPL Secretary General | +639174316396

US War Games not beneficial and helpful to Filipinos

Posted by arkibongbayanph
APR 12, 2023

Bayan slams Balikatan 2023
(Statement of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – BAYAN)

Bayan stands opposed to the Balikatan war games , as a matter of principle, based on our historical experience with US forces and based on our understanding of current developments in the region. There is no truth to the claim that these war games are beneficial and helpful for Filipinos , and that they are intended to boost our disaster response capabilities. The war games that will kick off on April 11 has little to do with humanitarian assistance and everything to do with US war preparations and imperialist power projection in the region.

The live-fire exercises and the simulated sinking of a decommissioned ship makes this iteration of Balikatan even more provocative. It will flare up tensions in the region. This is not in our best interest as a nation.

The Philippines is caught between an inter-imperialist conflict between the US and China. All actions of the US are intended to advance its imperialist agenda in the region. The US agenda and Philippine interests are not identical. We are merely being used as a foot stool for American power projection and provocation in the region. We are a convenient playground for US soldiers, and now a giant forward operating base for US weapons and warships through the EDCA.

The presence of foreign troops on our shores is a glaring sign that we are not truly free. Our foreign policy is shaped by American interests. Even our “internal security” follows the US counter-insurgency doctrine. We constantly wait for US excess defense articles and military aid as reward for being a US neo-colony. What is tragic is that after decades of having US bases and troops in the Philippines. our AFP has remained backward and undeveloped, contrary to claims that it will modernize through our agreements with the US.

We should not be dependent on the US when it comes to asserting our sovereignty versus China. The US has different goals in this region and we must be careful not to be dragged into US provocations and war. Bayan stands against both US intervention and China incursions. We oppose the lopsided military arrangements with the US that are an affront to our sovereignty and have caused the further weakening of our country. We call for the scrapping of all unequal military agreements with the US.

Protests demand U.S. military out of the Philippines

By Arjae Red
Workers World
February 17, 2023

U.S. Secretary of Defense, and former Raytheon board member, Lloyd Austin visited the Philippines, where he met with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Feb. 1 to announce the expansion of the U.S. military presence there, from five to nine bases. The expansion and establishment of these bases are allowed under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

This announcement has sparked outrage among the people of the Philippines, who held mass demonstrations in 1991 and shut down Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, which had been used to support the U.S. war of aggression against Vietnam.

The Filipino people have fought hard for more than a century against U.S. colonialism. During the Philippine-American war, the U.S. military slaughtered more than a million people. The 124th anniversary of the war, which began Feb. 4, 1899, coincided with Secretary Austin’s visit to Manila.

BAYAN USA Call to Action

Ten days after President Marcos and Secretary Austin met, activists and allies of the national-democratic movement of the Philippines mobilized for a Call to Action, which was put out by BAYAN USA.

Rallies hit the streets demanding an end to the EDCA, expulsion of all U.S. troops from Philippine territory, the end of all joint U.S.-Philippine military exercises, the end of all U.S. military aid to the armed forces and police of the Philippines and an end to the colonial relationship of the country to the U.S.

This writer spoke to LRT, an organizer with BAYAN Seattle, who shared their thoughts on the U.S. military expansion: “The presence of the U.S. military carries a dual purpose of maintaining the semicolonial system in the Philippines and ensuring its guns remain aimed at China. There is no regard for the people or the environment, as the U.S. Navy has historically polluted local waters and damaged coral reefs, affecting the marine life and disrupting the livelihood of fisherfolk.

“Everywhere there has been a U.S. military base, there has also been a red-light district. The tourism of military personnel isn’t just at night clubs and local clubs. The violence against Filipina women intensifies with the presence of military personnel, as evidenced by the 2014 murder of Jennifer Laude by U.S. Marine Joseph Pemberton.”

Although Pemberton was imprisoned first in a Philippine jail, he was ultimately released to U.S. custody. Today he walks free in Hawaii with no justice for the Laude family.

LRT continued: “It is the U.S. Special Forces that train the murderous butchers in the Armed Forces of the Philippines to inflict harm on our communities in the name of ‘counterinsurgency’ and ‘anti-terrorism.’ Who better to teach the AFP to terrorize its own people than the number-one terrorist in the world?”

U.S. increases bases, threats to China

These newly secured bases were the missing link in completing what is referred to as the “first island chain” in the U.S.-military enclosure of China. These bases are situated on the land sites closest to Taiwan. As Washington builds up U.S. forces in the region for war against China, supplies and nuclear weapons could be stored on these bases.

With a U.S./NATO-instigated proxy war in Ukraine in full-swing, justified under the auspices of “protecting” Ukraine, and with the U.S. showing no desire to de-escalate, there is no reason to believe joint-access military base expansion would protect the Philippines. U.S. maneuvers in the region have threatened aggression against China. The presence of additional U.S. military personnel only puts the Philippines in the crossfire.


Government claims before UN ‘hogwash’, rights defenders say

March 29, 2023

Abduction survivor’s testimony stuns Human Rights Council meeting

GENEVA, Switzerland–The Philippine government said nothing but a bunch of lies at the 52nd regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council last Monday, March 27, a network of human rights defenders said.

Reacting to the government’s oral statements at the adoption of the recommendations made at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) last November, the Philippine UPR Watch said they were “astounded by the barefaced lies” Ambassador Evan Garcia told the international body.

“If the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. government is to be believed, the Philippines is a paradise and its government worth emulating by the rest of world in how it upholds human rights and serves its people through prosperity and social service,” the network said.

In his opening statement, Garcia said Garcia claimed Manila implements “profound and bold reforms” in the Philippines’ criminal justice system. He added that the Philippine government implements its human rights plans and the Joint Programme with the UN as it conducts investigations on human rights violation, extrajudicial killings. He further claimed that the Marcos government protects journalist, human and environmental rights defenders among others.

Garcia also claimed that the government is open to engagements with human rights advocates and had been willing to accept fair criticism. Its acceptance of 215 of the 289 recommendations made in the UPR is proof of this, he said.

But the PH UPR Watch said Garcia contradicted himself when he said the Philippines has an “effective and responsive justice system” while admitting to only five recent convictions of low level police officers involved in the thousands of deaths connected with the drug-related killings in the country.

Unanimous rejection by rights groups

Speaking in the same meeting, Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Richard Pal-pallatoc pointed out that human rights violations, extrajudicial killings as well as threats and harassments against human rights defenders, civil society organizations, journalists and critics continue in the Philippines.

Pal-pallatoc added that social and economic problems such as runaway inflation and worsening standard of living still need to be addressed by the government.

While all of the 13 countries that spoke after Garcia recommended the adoption of the recommendations as standard practice, the nine international civil society organizations that delivered oral statements expressed disappointment that 74 recommendations were rejected.

Those that were “noted” by the government pertain to red-tagging, the government’s refusal to re-accede to the International Criminal Court, the persecution of human rights defenders, “weaponization” of laws such as the Anti-Terrorism Act and libel and cyber-libel, among others.

Recent abduction and enforced disappearance survivor and Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Region 7 coordinator April Dyan Gumanao and Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay also delivered oral statements in behalf of the World Council of Churches and global civil society network CIVICUS, respectively.

Shocking testimony

The UNHRC session fell into a hush when Gumanao began narrating their harrowing experience when abducted, disappeared and tortured by men who introduced themselves as police officers.

Gumanao revealed their abductors forced them to become government spies against activist groups and labor unions.

She said they were abandoned by their abductors when a concerned citizen’s video of their abduction went viral online and due to intense public pressure for their surfacing.

Seemingly affected by Gumanao’s testimony at the UN, Garcia delivered a rejoinder in his closing statement, denying the existence of a government policy on red-tagging and persecution of human rights defenders, environmentalists, mass media and other government critics.

He added the availability of local judicial remedies as well as the existence of a “most vibrant mass media practice” in the Philippines.

He also called human rights defenders in the country as “empowered” whom the government considers as “partners”.

The PH UPR Watch however was quick to call Garcia’s claims as “hogwash”.

“What a bunch of lies the world heard yesterday,” the network said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

= = = = =

Disclosure: The reporter is in Geneva to submit reports to the UN Special Procedures office connected with the expected official visit of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression later this year.

Jose Maria Sison:  Icon of the People’s Struggle

Pilgrims for Peace Statement
20 December 2022

Sharing deep sorrow for dreams not yet fulfilled, Pilgrims for Peace mourns the passing of a principled and resolute icon of the Filipino people’s struggle for a just and lasting peace.

Chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines Jose Maria Sison was like refined gold. He exhibited sharp acumen for social change as well as extraordinary character marked by goodness, kindness and unrelenting focus as a leader serving the people and the revolutionary movement in the Philippines.

Maligned and persecuted under the US-led war of terror, Ka Joma was not a terrorist. With his passing, we assert once more that neither Ka Joma, the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army, nor the National Democratic Front of the Philippines can nor should be derogated as terrorist. The long-seeded revolutionary struggle of the Philippines, finds its roots in the colonial vestiges of the feudal bondage of the rural peasants and the backward economy and stunted development of entrenched Imperialist machinations. Ka Joma proved his mettle as an ideological beacon, incomparable strategist and tactician, and reliable backbone of the oppressed and exploited masses in their cry for national and social liberation.

Let it be known: Ka Joma was also a most committed advocate for building a just and lasting peace in the Philippines. With verve and persistence, Ka Joma sounded the clarion call for principled negotiations with any government of the reactionary state that was willing to address the roots of the armed conflict in the Philippines. His unwavering commitment to pursue a way to just and lasting peace under The Hague Joint Declaration was matched by his fervor for the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement for Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the crafting of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER). Ka Joma demonstrated that his belief in the need for revolution was matched by an unflinching commitment to pursue peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

As peace advocates, we join in the people’s salute to an ingenious, innovative and unfailing trailblazer. His infectious belief in freedom and social change gave rise to daring struggle and concrete gains for the poorest and most marginalized of the Philippines. Ka Joma inspired a social movement and guided the political maturation of thousands toward their aspiration for national democracy from a socialist perspective. As the founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the contributions of Jose Maria Sison has been indelibly written into the fabric of his motherland.

Now, we and all peace and justice loving Filipinos must continue the journey toward building a just and enduring peace for the Filipino people. #

Most Revd. Rhee M. Timbang, Obispo Maximo, Iglesia Filipina Independiente

Bp. Dindo Ranojo, Ecumenical Bishops Forum

Rev. Irma Balaba, Promotion of Church People’s Response

Fr. Ritchie Masegman, Episcopal Church of the Philippines

Rev. Frank Hernando, Executive Secretary, UCCP

Rev. Homar Distajo, Executive Secretary, UCCP

Dss. Norma Dollaga, Kasimbayan

Kej Andres, Student Christian Movement-Philippines

Mike Pante, PhD, ACT for Peace

Atty. Ephraim B Cortez, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers

Joanna Concepcion, Chair, Migrante International

Arman Hernando, Chair, Migrante Philippines

Gert Libang, Chair, Gabriela

Amirah Lidasan, Moro-Christian People’s Alliance

Feny Cosico, AGHAM

Elmer Labog, Chair, Kilusang Mayo Uno

Rafael Mariano, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas

Cathy Estavillo, Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women

Dr. Carol Araullo, BAYAN

Tinay Palabay, Karapatan


Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP)
October 21, 2022

Ecumenical youth group Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) joined the mobilization in Manila by peasants from numerous regions as they demand genuine land reform, food security, agricultural aid, and end of militarization in the countryside from President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. who is also serving as the Agriculture Secretary.

“Busy in partying, the president busies himself in lavishness and decadence while inflation soars to 6.9 percent. Coupled with lack of genuine land reform and continued policies favoring importation, farmers continue to carry the heavy cross of government incompetence,” Andres said.

Peasants continue to protest against many agricultural policies that hamper agricultural production of the countryside and welfare of farmers. They protest against neoliberal policies that put agriculture that value profit-oriented and export-oriented ventures more than national food self-sufficiency. One of the most recent acts on agriculture, the Rice Liberalization Act, has been continuously denounced because it favors importation of rice rather than improvement of the local rice industry, much to the detriment of local rice farmers. Moreover, peasants have also denounced bogus land reform programs—from Presidential Decree 27 of former President Marcos, Sr. to CARP by former President Aquino—that have only pushed more farmers into landlessness.

In addition, SCMP is one with peasants in denouncing continued militarization in the countryside. During the first 100 days of the Marcos, Jr. administration, SCMP was able to list at least 81 counts of human rights violations from various sources (List: Many of these human rights violations include abuses by the Armed Forces in the Philippines in the countryside. An example would be the killing of Kyllene Casao, a nine-year old from Batangas, done by members of the AFP 59th Infantry Battalion. In Himamaylan City, about 18,000 residents fled the hinterland because of rampant militarization.

“Instead of pursuing peace talks for socio-economic reforms that will answer the roots of armed conflict, Marcos, Jr., like his predecessor Duterte, is a dangerous pest in the countryside because of continued human rights violations against peasants,” denounced Andres. “With these abuses, we reiterate our call against Mandatory ROTC because we expect no discipline from the AFP who are the top human rights violators against peasants and other peace-loving Filipinos,” he added.

In the end, Andres said, “we urge all Filipinos to be with the plight of the toiling Filipino farmers towards genuine land reform and food self-sufficiency. Until there is no genuine land distribution, until there is scant aid to agriculture, and until state forces continue to terrorize the countryside, our countrymen, especially many Filipino peasant youth will continue to experience hunger and to demand radical change in an inutile Marcos-Duterte administration.”


Kej Andres,

SCMP National Spokesperson



On Manila RTC ruling junking proscription case

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan
September 22, 2022

Terrorist-labeling will not end the armed conflict. The key take-away in the Manila RTC decision to junk the terrorist-labeling vs the CPP and NPA is that those taking up arms based on a political cause are not terrorists and that armed conflict is rooted in social ills.

To quote the decision: “Rebellion is rooted in a discontent of the existing order which is perceived to be unjust and inequitable to the majority, and favourable to the wealthy, ruling few.”

“However, the CPP can only gain adherents for as long as the government remains insensitive to, and incompetent in addressing, the social realities of poverty and material inequality which bring with them the oppression of the marginalized.”

The ruling calls on the government to address the roots of the armed conflict in order to end the insurgency.

“The government can, while uncompromising in its fight against Communism, regard the CPP’s act of taking the cudgels of the marginalized – as an impetus to better address these sectors’ concerns,” it said.

The ruling likewise reminds government of upholding human rights in the course of fighting the insurgency. “Efforts on the part of the present government to counter insurgency should include respect for the right to dissent, to due process and to the rule of law.”

We have said it before, labeling revolutionaries and those engaged in peace negotiations as “terrorists” is wrong, counter-productive and undermines any possibility of a political settlement in the armed conflict.

Contrary to military propaganda that peace talks achieve nothing, the GRP and the NDFP were already close to making a breakthrough in 2017 with agreements on socio-economic reforms that included land reform, rural development and national industrialization. This would then pave the way for an interim peace agreement. This opportunity was squandered by the past administration when it terminated the talks and made terrorist-labeling and all-out war its main policy.

The Philippine government should abandon the policy of terrorist-labeling and apply the framework of International Humanitarian Law to the armed conflict in the Philippines. The Philippine government should pursue a policy of peace negotiations that addresses the social basis of the conflict in order to achieve a just and lasting peace. ###