Karapatan: Mindanao peace should be top Duterte agenda

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A LA UP OBLATION Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte strikes a pose like the UP Oblation at the flag-raising ceremony at Davao City Hall. Duterte, a known night person who had not attended the regular Monday event for a long time, spoke of his impending war on illegal drugs, crime and corruption. ACE MORANDANTE/CONTRIBUTOR

Peace advocates have maintained that the long-standing Muslim Mindanao conflict would be resolved if President-elect Rodrigo Duterte would resume formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

Karapatan, an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, in a press release on Tuesday said pursuing “a genuine and sincere Moro peace process” should be a top agenda for the Duterte’s first 100 days in office.

“We have witnessed a wanton disregard of people’s rights and the prevalent climate of impunity and unpeace, especially under the Benigno S. Aquino III presidency. Fulfillment of this human rights and peace agenda for the first 100 days of the Duterte presidency will be a step forward to counter this situation,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

Advocates also called for the release of political prisoners and cancellation of criminal charges against political activists and human rights advocates “for humanitarian reasons.”

All human rights violators in the military and police, who promoted killings and forced evacuation of thousands of people, must be prosecuted, arrested and punished, Karapatan said.

The group disapproved programs such as “Oplan Bayanihan” and civil military operations, saying that the fund should have been allotted for compensation and rehabilitation of victims of human rights violations.

“Relatives of victims of human rights violations want Ret. Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo transferred to civilian detention facilities. Both, they said, are receiving special treatment at the custody of the Philippine Army in Camp Bonifacio and Veterans Memorial Hospital respectively,” the group stated.

Also among the advocacies is the fight to stop “violations of people’s social, economic and cultural rights” such as land conversion, privatization of hospitals, discrimination against women and commercialization of education.

Karapatan is set to present its agenda on Wednesday, the day before Duterte’s inauguration, at the National People’s Summit. Kathryn Jedi V. Baylon, INQUIRER.net trainee/RAM/rga

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