communist insurgency

Landmine kill reopens wounds: Akbayan dares Makabayan to condemn all NPA violence

Lian Buan
(1st UPDATE) 'Makabayan bloc cannot be selective in its condemnation of the NPA's abuses. It could not condemn and praise the NPA at the same time,' says Akbayan

The landmine blast in Masbate that killed a union leader and his cousin, a football player, has revived the tiff between the two factions of the Philippine Left – Akbayan on one side, and the Makabayan bloc on the other.

Akbayan on Friday, June 11, released a statement challenging the Makabayan bloc to condemn “all the atrocities and abuses committed by the New People’s Army (NPA) in its wanton use of violence that victimized countless people throughout its 52-year long communist insurgency.”

After the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the NPA took “full responsibility” for the landmine kill, the lawmakers of the Makabayan bloc said they “condemn the military action by a unit of the NPA in Masbate City…for violating international humanitarian law.”

The Makabayan bloc is composed of Bayan Muna Representatives Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat; ACT Teachers Representative France Castro; Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas; and Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago.

Akbayan and the Makabayan bloc supported rival presidential candidates in the 2010 elections. Their spat boiled over after Benigno Aquino III, Akbayan’s bet, became president.

“Makabayan bloc cannot be selective in its condemnation of the NPA’s abuses. It could not condemn and praise the NPA at the same time,” said the Akbayan party-list in the statement.

The Makabayan bloc said it “welcomed the CPP-NPA statement  acknowledging and accepting  full responsibility and expressing deep remorse” over the incident.

Akbayan said Makabayan has kept a “long silence at the armed group’s violence and impunity.”

And while their recent statement is a “respite,” Akbayan said Makabayan “should denounce all the atrocities and abuses the NPA has committed against the public, including its extortion activities, recruitment of child soldiers, and the assassinations and threats of violence against progressive leaders and organizations.”

Akbayan said it “is the only left-leaning political party in the Philippines that has consistently opposed the violence of the CPP-NPA.”

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‘Inhumanity of landmines’

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday reiterated that the use of landmine is banned by the 1997 Ottawa Treaty (Mine Ban Convention), of which the Philippines is a signatory.

“Various United Nations General Assembly Resolutions reflect a clear and convincing global consensus against the use of anti-personnel land mines,” said IBP national president Domingo “Egon” Cayosa.

“No goal or ideology can justify a blatant disregard of the laws and conscience of humanity. Even in the extreme conditions of war, the principles of decency and humanity must be honored,” said Cayosa. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.