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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Misamis Oriental News: Peace and Order Council Appeals to NPA to Respect Human Rights

Misamis Oriental News – The Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC), here, has supported the Government of the Philippines (GPH) Panel
in condemning the New People's Army (NPA)’s latest antics.

These antics include the granting of the supposed "prisoner of war (POW) " status to
the four (4) abducted Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) guards and having Mayor Dano of Lingig, Surigao del Sur face trial before a "people's court."

“The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-
NDF) is not a state nor has any government recognized it as a belligerent force. It should not presume to act like one,” the GPH Panel said.

These acts committed by the NPA are nothing short of criminal. They are violative
of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International
Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), which they have signed, as well, as every human rights

The BJMP guards should not have been abducted in the first place because the
functions they perform are civilian in nature and they are far from being "combatants."

These guards should be released immediately without any preconditions. We are
concerned that some of them are suffering from poor health and nutrition. We hold the NPA directly responsible for their safety, and for any adverse health conditions they may suffer.

We also condemn in the strongest terms the trial of Mayor Dano by a so-
called "people's court". This is a denial of the Mayor's fundamental rights which they themselves always demand when their own people are caught and are brought before a court of justice.

The mayor's basic right to defend himself in the best possible way, his right to
choose his own counsel, to enjoy the presumption of innocence, to be appraised of the complaints against him and to adequately prepare his appropriate defense, to call on witnesses and present documents, to be free from coercion, force or intimidation, are being violated with impunity.

Again the mayor is a non-combatant and should be released without preconditions,
including both of his escorts who enjoy the same basic rights as any other.
It is unfortunate that while they are talking peace with government, the NPA has
escalated its attacks and other acts of violence to unprecedented levels, committing the very acts they accuse government of doing.

Obviously, they are working on the assumption that human rights apply only to them
and that they can easily deprive those they choose to.
Thus, Gov. Oscar S. Moreno, Chairperson of the PPOC, has joined the GPH Panel in
reiterating the call to the CPP/NPA/NDF to seriously talk peace with government if they are serious in desiring to end the armed conflict.

“We ask that they stop these abductions, killings and other criminal acts which
benefit no one, except those who actually profit from violence,” the Governor added. (PIO/PIA-10)

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