ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro demand the immediate release of Rommel Salinas, consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), who was arrested in Ozamis City together with Bishop Carlo Morales of the Iglesia Filipino Independiente. Salinas is protected under the Joint Agreement of Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). Bishop Morales was subsequently released.
JASIG is one of the agreements between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and NDFP which are now in the middle of peace talks and drafting of Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER).
The JASIG provides all duly accredited NDFP consultants immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation and any other similar punitive actions due to any involvement or participation in the peace negotiations. The guarantees also extend to persons who assist them in the performance of their work in the peace talks.
“The illegal arrest of Salinas constitutes a flagrant violation by military agents of JASIG. This disregard of JASIG directly sabotages the ongoing peace negotiations between the GRP and NDFP. Salinas must be released immediately,” Tinio stressed.
“Aside from the illegal arrest, there are more reports of surveillance, harassment, and threats on the other NDFP peace consultants. Recently, the Tiamzons, Benito and Wilma, were tailed by suspected military agents after they visited the Lapanday farm workers camping at Mendiola. Also, another alarming incident is the shoot-to-kill order and abduction plan against NDFP consultants based in Mindanao,” Castro said.
“We urge the GRP to rein in its military, paramilitary, and police agents threatening and harassing peace consultants, their staff, and other people in violation of its commitments at the peace table. It should also look seriously into these incidents and take whatever appropriate measures to hold accountable the violators,” Tinio ended. ###