Task force eyes global pressure for Dutch to deport Joma
By Christian Crow Maghanoy / The Manila Times
The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) will seek global pressure to push the Dutch government to deport Jose Maria "Joma" Sison to the Philippines to make him pay for the crimes committed by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army, particularly violations of the International Humanitarian Law.
Undersecretary Severo "Nonoy" Catura, task force spokesperson on the peace process, human rights and international engagements, said the government will bring the matter to the United Nations, which is slated to meet this week.
The move comes a week after the killing of Keith Absalon and his cousin who died when NPA rebels exploded an anti-personnel mine in Masbate.
The task force said the NPA violated the Anti-Personnel Mine (APM) Treaty Convention signed in 1997 that bans the use of such weapons "especially by terrorist groups."
"All European nations, including the Netherlands, have ratified and acceded to this (banning of APM)," Catura said in a briefing on Monday. He pointed out Sison is in the Netherlands supposedly for humanitarian reasons, but he is 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 against government troops and civilians.
Catura said the death of Absalon and his cousin might serve as the key for global pressure to bring back Sison to the country to answer for his heinous crimes.
Meanwhile, Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, NTF-Elcac spokesperson for Social Media Affairs and Sectoral Concerns, called on the removal of the Makabayan bloc to end its misrepresentation in the House of Representatives for being the "mouthpiece of Sison."
Members of the bloc are representatives of Bayan Muna, Kabataan Partylist, Act Teachers Partylist and Gabriela.
"They continue their classic lies by pretending to condemn what had happened to push the government to negot iate for another round of peace talks," Badoy said.
"They ought to resign, and Joma ought to be brought home to answer for their crimes," she added.
"For as long as the Makabayan bloc and the CPP-NPA-NDF are still in Congress, and for as long as Joma Sison is being harbored by the Netherlands, they are harboring the head of a terrorist organization," Badoy said.
Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., commander of the South Luzon Command said the dwindling numbers of terrorist rebels was the main reason why APMs are being used "to show they (NPA) still exist."
"We have a total of 170 terrorist rebels who surrendered in the area, in fact last Friday (June 11) there were 47," Parlade said.
"Ka Sasay whom we had arrested is a member of Gabriela," he added.
Brig. Gen. Joel Alejandro Nacnac, director of the 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.