December 21, 2009 in Featured
By CONYAP G.
BONTOC, Mt. Province — Various sectors held a dialogue with the 54th IB of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on their bid to seek justice for the victims of human rights violations and to mitigate the effects of the military presence in the province. A resolution was also made by the sectors urging the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) to resume peace talks.
The Mt. Province dialogue with the AFP based in Mt. Province was sponsored by the Bontoc-Lagawe Diocese of the Roman Catholic church headed by Bishop Rodolfo Beltran, the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines under Bishop Brent Alawas, the Local Government Unit of Bontoc headed by Mayor Franklin Odssey and the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA).
The participants present excluding the AFP also agreed that reinvestigation and investigation of alleged human rights violations be done immediately and for the Peace Executive Council (PEC) to assist in this. They said that in the interest of justice, victims and survivors should be indemnified by the AFP and commitments previously made be given. The participants also called for the immediate pull out of military and para-military personnel from the province and the dismantling of the AFP and Civilian Auxilliary Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) detachments in the communities.
To date, the 77th CAFGU IB, the 54th IB, Task Force Montanyosa and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are n the province. They are located in their main Headqarters at Bontoc and in various detachments in Tocucan, Guinaang, Natonin, Barlig, Bauko, Besao and Tadian.
The CPA called on the gov’t. to stop the state sponsored Oplan Bantay Laya and terrorist attacks against the CPA and other progressive organizations.
Mayor Odssey and Bishop Beltran delivered their message in support of efforts to seek peace and to resolve the roots of the armed conflict through non-violent means. Odssey said that the PEC should be strengthened to serve as center for human rights. The Epicopal Northern Diocese in the Philippines (ENDP) in the person of Fr. Lioba spoke of the development programs of the church in the countrysides.
Vice-governor Loy Claver spoke of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), which is an agreement between the NDFP and GRP signed during the presidency of Joseph Ejercito Estrada. It clearly defines the rights and violations in the conduct of war and states the rights of civilians as well as combatants.
A resolution urging the NDFP and the GRP to resume their peace talks was drafted and signed by all participants excluding the representatives of the AFP. A certain Lt. Sta. Maria and Terricampo say that they are not in authority to sign as this is a matter that has to be referred to their superiors.# nordis.net