GPPAC Statement on the peace process in the Philippines
This statement is from our Enabling Collaboration Working Group, which is accompanying the peace process in the Philippines.
Noting the ongoing public health and economic crises caused by the COVID 19 pandemic affecting countries around the globe;
Affirming the call of the United Nations Secretary General's (UNSG) for an immediate global ceasefire in recognition of increased humanitarian threats during the pandemic;
Welcoming the initial unilateral ceasefires declared by both the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in response to the pandemic and the UNSG’s call;
Saddened by the expiration of these short-lived ceasefires with allegations of violations on both sides;
Hearing the the extreme concern expressed by our local partners, non-governmental organizations, academia and Philippine civil society about rampant killings, red-tagging, illegal/unjust monitoring and warrantless arrests in a climate of impunity
Alarmed by the heightened state of media repression and impending passage of an Anti-Terrorism Law with sections that may violate the Philippine Constitution on due process and would threaten dissenting voices and lead to more deterioration of democratic space in the midst of a deep health crisis;
Concerned that the pandemic could be used by those profiteering and otherwise benefiting from economies of injustice and violence, to distract and cause fear among the people still lacking the collective political will and imagination for peace, which all contribute to a malignant apathy towards peace talks in the Philippines;
To prevent further trauma, loss of life, economic deterioration, and suffering of civilian communities, especially poor, marginalized, and oppressed sectors and indigenous peoples directly affected by armed encounters;
Affirming that to effect positive change requires honest commitment to implement social policy for the victims of armed conflict and of the post-pandemic’s aggravated poverty;
And recognizing that nonviolent social change has historically been shown to be the most conducive to the establishment of a truly free, just, egalitarian, democratic and nationalist society;
We are calling on the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the NDFP and their respective armed fronts/commands and support groups to implement the following:
- Immediately renew their respective ceasefire efforts and engage in confidence building measures;
- Withdraw state and non-state armed units from the ancestral domains of indigenous peoples caught in the crossfire especially Lumad communities in Mindanao;
- To cause the withdrawal of the Anti-terrorism bill;
- To establish an independent commission with international participation investigating all types of alleged extrajudicial killings, including assassinations of social activists and progressive leaders, and revolutionary justice executions;
- To engage and reach out to all interested parties- peace advocates, human rights networks, and peacebuilding organisations and agencies, along with international facilitators and mediation support groups, towards developing a comprehensive infrastructure and constituency for meaningful and substantive peace negotiations leading to social transformation.
Justice is the only way to genuine peace!