Use of landmines viciously destroy lives, communities: Catura

By Lade Jean Kabagani / Philippine News Agency

Undersecretary Severo Catura, Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat Executive Director (Contributed photo)

MANILA – The purpose of anti-personnel landmines (APM) is to destroy life, communities, and a nation, particularly if used by a terrorist group, a Palace official said.


In a regular virtual press conference titled "Tagged: Debunking Lies By Telling The Truth” on June 14, Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat Executive Director, Undersecretary Severo Catura, cited the June 6 tragic mine blast that killed football player Kieth Absalon and his cousin Nolven, and wounded his 16-year old relative in Masbate.


"This has become an opportunity for everyone to really be aware of what exactly are these anti-personnel mines and the viciousness, the brutality of such a use, and that is why it’s being condemned on a global scale," Catura said.


Its use, he said, is a violation of International Humanitarian Law.


"I am mentioning this because quite interestingly, all European Union member states, including the Netherlands have ratified and or acceded to this landmine ban," he added.


He said Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria "Joma" Sison is in the Netherlands supposedly for humanitarian reasons, but, continuously orchestrating the CPP's armed wing New People's Army (NPA) to persist violence in the Philippines.


"Sison, now a resident of the Netherlands, his terror group and his front organizations are all enablers of the use of landmines," he said.


This matter, he added, will be brought before the United Nations (UN) that is slated to meet this week to discuss the Anti-Personnel Mine Treaty Convention signed in 1997.


"Our Philippine mission in Geneva will be pushing for a discussion on this matter and which we hope, we will be able to convince members states, the signatories to the landmine convention, anti-landmine convention to issue a statement condemning this act," he said.


Impunity


He added that the sanctuary provided by the Netherlands government to Sison and his colleagues in the CPP-NPA "highlights the sense of impunity that communities in the Philippines are feeling."


"Maybe the deaths of the Absalons is the key for these European states concern to finally realize how they have been used to provide sanctuary to a person that enables, advocates, defends terror groups in the use of landmines, and in this most recent case, which lead to the brutal killing of a student and a trade unionist," he said.


Persona non grata


Catura said various villages in the country have declared CPP-NPA as "persona non-grata" not merely as a local government resolution, but a mechanism to protect the right to life of the Filipinos.


"So once and for all, we are really seeing a very positive development in our campaign to rid not only the use of landmines but to rid the country of this very terroristic communist organization," he said.


Sison has been repeatedly directing the NPAs to launch vicious attacks so they can push for the revival of the peace negotiations, Catura said.


"What is a very positive development on this? No international organization has taken up the call for renewed peace talks kasi na-realize na nila iyan eh (because they already realized that)," he said.


The CPP-NPA is also listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)

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