THE National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) will push for global pressure on the Dutch government to deport terrorist chieftain Jose Maria Sison to the Philippines to make him pay for gross and persistent violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), including the recent detonation of an Anti-Personnel Mine (APM) that killed football player Kieth Absalon, his cousin and injuring his 16-year-old relative.
In the weekly NTF-ELCAC press briefing entitled “Tagged: Debunking Lies By Telling The Truth,” Usec. Nonoy Catura, the task force spokesperson on the peace process, human rights and international engagements, said that they will bring the matter to the United Nations, which is slated to meet this week over the Anti-Personnel Mine Treaty Convention signed in 1997 that ban the use of such weaponry “especially by terrorist groups.”
“All European nations, including the Netherlands, have ratified and acceded to this (banning of APM),” said Catura, pointing out that Sison is in the Netherlands supposedly for humanitarian reasons, but continuous to be responsible for ordering the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) to carry out attacks using APMs as offensive weapons against government troops and civilians.
Sison had repeatedly issued directives to the local communist terrorist group (CTG) to launch more vicious attacks also in a bid to “force the government to pursue peace talks,” the line that has been parroted by members of the so-called Makabayan Bloc in Congress.
Catura said the tragic deaths of Kieth Absalon and his cousin over a detonated APM might serve as the key for global pressure to bring back Sison to the country to answer for his heinous crimes. He said APM should also stand for “Absalon Precedent in Masbate,” a fitting acronym for bringing to justice the CPP-NPA-NDF for their atrocities.
Undersecretary Lorrraine Badoy, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson for Social Media Affairs and Sectoral Concerns, on the other hand, said “the Makabayan Bloc must also be removed from their powerful misrepresentation in the House of Representatives for being the mouthpiece of Sison.”
“The Makabayan Bloc is washing their hands in the incident (Absalon’s murder). No real remorse. They continue their classic lies by pretending to condemn what had happened to push the government to negotiate for another round of peace talks,” she continued.
“They ought to resign, and Joma ought to be brought home to answer for their crimes,” Badoy added.
Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., chief of the South Luzon Command (SoLCom), who leads the pursuit operations against the NPAs responsible for the Absolon murders, said the dwindling numbers of terrorist rebels is the main reason why APMs are continuously being used as weapons “to show they (NPA) still exist.”
“We have a total of 170 terrorist rebels who already surrendered in the area, in fact last Friday ((June 11) there were 47,” Parlade said, adding that there is no such thing as ‘legal front’ — referring to the Makabayan Bloc in Congress because there are proven links between the aforesaid House of Representative members and the communist movement.
“Ka Sasay whom we had arrested is a member of Gabriela,” he said.
Gaye Florendo, the task force assistant spokesperson for Indigenous People’s Concerns, said Kieth Absalon was not only killed by APM but was also summarily executed by NPA just like what they did to other IP victims, and the Makabayan Bloc “serves to cover” for their atrocities.
Brig. Gen. Joel Alejandro Nacnac, director of AFP Center for Law of Armed Conflict, said “it’s time to have a national campaign against the use of APM by the terrorist group as not only uniformed personnel have died and lost parts of their bodies but a number of civilians were also amputated because of these land mines.”
National Security adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., also vice-chairman of NTF-ELCAC, said communist rebels must be prosecuted and penalized for committing an international crime for the landmine explosion in Masbate since anti-personnel landmines have been prohibited as they do not distinguish between combatants and civilians.
Esperon, a former military officer, said the AFP and PNP “ay hindi lamang magtatanggol, but, magbibigay ng proteksiyon sa lahat ng nga Filipino. Dapat lang mawala yang mga landmine na ‘yan.”
According to Esperon, there will also be no peace talks with the terrorist groups as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte since the CPP-NPA-NDF “have no sincerity.”