Anakbayan calls on NDFP, GRP to include illegal settlers’ plight in peace talks agenda
A militant group of young workers, professionals, and students are calling for the inclusion of the issue of informal settlers in urban areas in the upcoming peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).
“One reason why workers, students, and other urban poor continue to join the armed revolution in the countryside is because of incidents like the demolition in Brgy. Corazon de Jesus” said Anakbayan spokesperson Vencer Crisostomo.
The residents of Corazon de Jesus are resisting plans to relocate them to sites in Rizal and Laguna, saying these are too far from their present jobs and from access to clean water, electricity, alternative livelihoods, schools, and health centers.
“We hope that the NDF, with its very pro-poor program, will take up the cudgels for the urban poor of Corazon de Jesus and other places in the peace talks” said the youth leader.
The NDFP has a 12-point program, in which the 4th point (Uphold and promote the peoples’ democratic rights) include the assurance of full employment, and the guarantee of social services such as housing.
“When they see the very police and military that are supposed to ‘serve and protect’ them are the ones that take the lead in violating their human rights, they become open to the analysis that the current system and government does not really represent their interests, as well as that of other marginalized sectors” said Crisostomo.
Videos and photographs of the demolition showed various abuses by the police, including the use of teargas, taunting of paralegals and ‘indy’ media practitioners, and the mauling of unarmed residents.
The youth leader added “We have encountered countless workers, students, and other urban poor who no longer see the attraction of working for change within the legal framework of the government when they hear of a another ‘army’ in the rural areas which punishes abusive cops and soldiers, and parallel government in the countryside that is already implementing reforms that successive administrations have been unable to do so”.
“Unless the Aquino government learns from its predecessors’ mistakes and comes into terms with the truth that poverty, inequality, and injustice are the roots of armed resistance, they will certainly replace the Arroyo and Marcos regimes for the title of ‘NPA recruiter #1’” concluded the Anakbayan leader, in reference to the New People’s Army which is a member group of the NDFP.