Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate in a photo taken on Sept. 21, 2017. (Photo from the Facebook account of Bayan Muna)
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate sees more human rights violations with the Duterte administration declaring as terrorist organizations the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).
Zarate, in a statement on Wednesday, said Duterte’s latest move would be an “abandonment of the peace process and an ominous signal of more violations of human rights.”
“Darker days are ahead considering that human rights is already taking a solid hit from the fascist campaigns of the government,” Zarate said.
“The proclamation means the Duterte administration’s abandonment of the peace process and the possible resolution of the largely socio-economic and political causes of the almost five-decade old armed conflict,” he said.
The lawmaker called branding Communist rebels as terrorists as a “US-inspired counter-insurgency campaign.”
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said Duterte ended peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA and National Democratic Front (NDG) because these “engaged in acts of violence and hostilities” while the government “exerted our best efforts to accelerate the signing and implementation of the final peace agreement.”
READ: Duterte signs Proclamation No. 360 terminating peace talks with NPA / Duterte declares CPP, NPA as terrorist organizations
Duterte has decried attacks by NPA rebels that resulted in the death of soldiers even as government and the NDF negotiators met and talked in the Netherlands to end the decades of violence.
At one point, the NPA ordered its forces to attack government troops and caused the peace talks to break down in May 2017. The NPA was reacting to the declaration of martial law in Mindanao following the siege of Islamic Maute-ISIS terrorists of Marawi City.
The order for the NPA to “carry out more tactical offensives” against the military was reportedly issued despite assurances by the government that the martial declaration was not against the CPP-NPA-NDF.
READ: Peace talks break down after communists order NPA to attack
Zarate noted that under more than 100 leaders and members of left-leaning groups have become victims of extrajudicial killings, “four massacres occurred, 20 instances of forced evacuations of Lumads and 17 bombings of aerial bombardment” have also been recorded.
He also hit the reported military food blockade against Lumad evacuees in Surigao del Sur as activists in the area are being branded as NPAs. /cbb