Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno criticized the Aquino government today for failing to release the remaining 13 consultants of the National Democratic Front last Oct. 10, saying the government is again showing its insincerity towards the peace talks.
The two sides have previously agreed on the deadline to allow negotiators to prepare for the resumption of the peace talks on Oct. 31. The consultants’ release is the government’s responsibility under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees or Jasig signed by both the government and the NDF.
The government’s failure to release the 13 Jasig-protected NDF consultants, said Fidel Agcaoili, chairperson of the NDF negotiating panel, makes the resumption of formal talks on Oct. 31 impossible.
“The Aquino government’s hardline stance against the release of imprisoned consultants, despite the Jasig and despite the mutually-agreed deadline, shows the government’s insincerity in efforts to resolve the causes of the long-standing armed conflict in the country,” said Lito Ustarez, KMU vice-chairperson.
“This is further aggravated by the fact that the 13 NDF consultants are being considered as criminals by the government and are being swamped with criminal charges. We condemn this yet another proof of insincerity on the part of the govenrment,” he added.
KMU said the peace talks should proceed immediately, especially now that the Aquino government is asserting its hardline pro-market stance in its push for amendments to the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
“The peace talks is a great opportunity for ordinary workers and people to get to know the NDF’s critique of the Aquino government’s Cha-cha. It is also an opportunity to get to know a development model that is different from that being offered by the Aquino government,” Ustarez said.
“The Aquino government’s Cha-cha aims to give country a bigger dose of the poison that has caused so much poverty and suffering in the country. The peace talks is a chance to get to know a possible antidote – which the Aquino government is blocking,” he added. Lito Ustarez, KMU Vice Chairperson