Uphold the CARHRIHL!

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) joins the Filipino people, local and international human rights organizations and peace advocates, in marking today the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

In behalf of all revolutionary forces, the Party reaffirms its commitment to uphold the provisions of the CARHRIHL and to undertake its responsibilities specified therein.

The CARHRIHL is a landmark agreement between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). It was forged through peace negotiations which started in 1992. It is rightfully the first agreement signed as it sets the ground rules, so to speak, for the civil war or armed conflict until the socio-economic and political root causes are resolved in subsequent debate, negotiations and agreements.

The CARHRIHL gives the Filipino people an additional layer of legal protection as they advance their democratic causes. The CARHRIHL also provides them with further reference to defend and advance their rights in the socio-economic, political and cultural spheres.

Since 1998, study of the CARHRIHL has been part of the basic curriculum of the education program of Red fighters of the New People’s Army (NPA), as well as all revolutionary mass organizations. To the NPA, the CARHRIHL is considered an elaboration of the more fundamental Three Main Rules of Discipline and Eight Points of Attention which define the revolutionary moral standards for all Red fighters.

To mark the 20[th] anniversary of the agreement, it would be timely for all units of the NPA to take refresher courses and make use of the opportunity to review their practice.

Promoting the CARHRIHL has become doubly significant as President Duterte of the GRP has declared open contempt for human rights. In November 2017, Duterte proclaimed the termination of peace negotiations with the NDFP and has flouted all previous agreements, including the CARHRIHL.

As commander-in-chief, he has ordered his troops to completely disregard human rights and ignore summons or pleadings of any local or international human rights officer. He has expressed his disdain for human rights and consider these as impediments to progress. He brazenly advocates dictatorship and military rule. He has imposed martial law in Mindanao, completely setting aside human rights.

Specifically, he has ordered the AFP to use all its air assets to “flatten the hills” and “bomb the Lumad schools”. Rural communities are threatened with the image of becoming mini-Marawis. He has called on peasants and minority peoples to leave their homes to make way for plantations, mines and military reservations. He incites brutality and cruelty by ordering his men to “shoot the vagina” of women fighters of the NPA and encouraging soldiers to “bring the heads of NPA members in iced buckets” to earn their P25,000 reward.

The Oplan Kapayapaan war of suppression, the war against the Moros and the “war on drugs” are utterly barbaric. More than half a million people have been uprooted from their homes, surpassing all post-Marcos regimes. State forces have perpetrated the extrajudicial killing of close to a hundred peasant leaders, more than 20 unionists and scores of other social activists.

The number of cases of military abuses and killings by AFP troops continue to rise. This list includes the following:

* The 9-day torture and frustrated murder by setting on fire of two activists on December 6, 2017 by elements of the 71st IB in Maco, Compostela Valley.

* The massacre of eight Lumad villagers in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato on December 3, 2017 by elements of 33rd and 27th IB.

* The raid and mortar attack by the 20th IB against an NPA mass clinic on December 16, 2017 in Catubig, Northern Samar.

* The four and a half hour aerial bombing and artillery attack on May 25, 2017 against several barangays in President Roxas, North Cotabato and Damulog, Bukidnon combined with ground operations of the 39[th] and 72[nd] IB.

* The aerial bombing of several barangays in the outskirts Batangas City on September 24, 2017 by the 730[th] Combat Group of the Philippine Air Force and the 202[nd] IB.

* The killing of 19-year old Lumad student Obillo Bay-ao by CAFGU elements on September 5, 2017 in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.

* The shooting of a pregnant woman by elements of the 8th IB in Bukidnon on July 2016.

This list of fascist crimes grows longer almost on a daily basis as AFP troops occupy rural civlian communities in the name of “peace” which aim to intimidate and silence the resistance of peasants and minority peoples.

In the face of all brutalities being committed by the AFP under the US-Duterte regime, there is utmost urgency to demand respect for human rights and observance of international humanitarian law. The Filipino people demand justice for all the fascist crimes perpetrated by the AFP over the years.

Towards this end, the Filipino people can use the CARHRIHL to bolster their position and demands. Amid the bloody fascism and murderous frenzy of the US-Duterte regime, they must demand the GRP to comply with the CARHRIHL and hold Duterte and all of his officials responsible for grave violations of human rights as stipulated in the agreement.

Uphold the CARHRIHL!