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Philippine Peace Neg. Objects To NZ Terror Listing

VISITING PHILIPPINE PEACE NEGOTIATOR OBJECTS TO NZ GOVERNMENT’S “TERRORIST” LISTING

Luis Jalandoni and his wife Coni Ledesma (see below for contact and itinerary details) are in Christchurch now, at the start of a national speaking tour (they leave Christchurch on the morning of Wednesday 27th for Blenheim and to view the Waihopai spybase that afternoon).

Luis Jalandoni is the International Representative of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF, www.ndfp.net), a post that he has held since 1977, and since 1994 he has been the Chairperson of the NDF’s Negotiating Panel for peace talks with the Government of the Philippines. The NDF is the coalition of several underground groups, including the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People’s Army, which has been waging a war of liberation throughout the Philippines for more than 40 years, making it one of the longest running armed struggles in the world.

The country desperately needs peace with justice and security, so resolving this people’s war is central to that. Within the past few days the Philippine government, under President Benigno Aquino, has named its negotiating panel to resume the peace talks with the NDF, facilitated by the Norwegian Government (these talks were frozen since 2005 under the former presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo).

Luis Jalandoni says that it is “regrettable” that, just within the past couple of weeks, the New Zealand Government has added the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army to its list of “international terrorist” organisations (the National Democratic Front is not on this list in any country, including NZ). This move will do nothing towards aiding the peace process in the Philippines, one of our closest Asian neighbours. Many thousands of Filipinos now live and work in New Zealand, making a valuable contribution to our economy and society. New Zealand can play a positive role in helping to remedy the very reasons which drive millions of Filipinos to seek work and a better life overseas. Helping the peace process is one way; labelling people as “terrorists” helps nobody and is a kneejerk reaction to the American-led hysteria that brands as “terrorists” all and any groups deemed inimical to the interests of the US and its allies in the ill-defined and endless “war on terror”.

And John Key’s statement announcing the addition of the CPP/NPA to this list was factually incorrect when he said that they “indiscriminately kill civilians”. In fact, they go to great pains not to kill or wound civilians in their operations against military targets in this civil war. They do not use the tactics of real terrorists, such as suicide bombers, car bombs, etc, which do deliberately and indiscriminately target civilians. If they did they would have long since lost the support of the significant proportion of the Philippine population which actively supports them. If Key wants to punish people in the Philippines who indiscriminately kill and terrorise civilians, he should start with the Philippine government and its military, police and paramilitary forces who routinely murder, abduct, “disappear” and torture civilians. The “lucky ones” become political prisoners on trumped up charges which take years to grind through the courts. The Philippines has an appalling human rights record against any kind of peaceful opposition activists, so much so that when Helen Clark was Prime Minister she raised it directly with then President Arroyo, and one result was the NZ Human Rights Commission setting up an ongoing project in the Philippines.

Luis Jalandoni and Coni Ledesma’s tour presents a unique opportunity to hear firsthand about a four decades long war, and accompanying peace process, in our own backyard that is almost totally unknown to New Zealanders. It is even more important now that the NZ Government has applied the blanket label of “terrorist” to one side in that war.

PSNA
Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa
Box 2450, Christchurch, New Zealand
cafca@chch.planet.org.nz
www.converge.org.nz/psna

JUSTICE AND LIBERATION: THE ROAD TO PEACE
FILIPINO PROGRESSIVE LEADERS TO TOUR NZ OCTOBER/NOVEMBER
AVAILABLE FOR MEDIA INTERVIEWS


If you would like their CVs and/or photos e-mailed to you, please reply to cafca@chch.planet.org.nz We also refer you to the Website of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines www.ndfp.net for information on the organisation which they represent and to our Website www.converge.org.nz/psna for material on the Philippines.

Luis (who previously toured New Zealand in 1987) is undertaking a national speaking tour between October 24 and November 14. His tour is being collectively organised and hosted by the Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa, Auckland Philippines Solidarity and Wellington Kiwi Pinoy. His topic will be: Justice And Liberation: The Road To Peace In The Philippines. He will visit: Christchurch, Blenheim, Wellington, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Hamilton, Auckland and Whangarei.

Luis is accompanied by his wife Coni Ledesma, who will also be speaking. She is a member of the NDF Negotiating Panel for peace talks; and is the International Spokesperson of MAKIBAKA, a revolutionary women’s group which belongs to the NDF.

Luis and Coni are both veteran leading figures in the Philippine revolutionary Left. He was a Catholic priest in the 1960s and she was a nun. Both were founders of Christians for National Liberation, a member group of the NDF. When Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972, both went underground. They were both arrested and spent time as political prisoners. They left the clergy, and got married in 1974. They have lived in The Netherlands since 1976; they were the first Filipinos to apply for and receive political asylum there. They hold Dutch passports and travel extensively as NDF representatives.

ITINERARY

Tuesday October 26 – Christchurch
Public Meeting - 7.30 p.m. Knox Presbyterian Church Lounge, 28 Bealey Avenue.

Wednesday October 27 – Blenheim
Public Meeting – 7.30 p.m., Nativity Centre Lounge, cnr Alfred & Henry Streets

Thursday October 28 & Friday 29 – Wellington
Public Meeting – 7.30 p.m. Thursday 28, St John’s Hall, corner Willis & Dixon Streets

Monday November 1 – Palmerston North
Public Meeting – 7.30 p.m., Catholic Diocesan Centre (t Rau Aroha), 33 Amesbury Street

Tuesday November 2 & Wednesday 3 – New Plymouth
Public Meeting – 6 p.m. Wednesday 3rd, Govett Brewster Art Gallery, 42 Queen Street

Thursday November 4 – Hamilton
Public Meeting – 7.30 p.m., Waikato Trade Union Centre, 34 Harwood Street.

Friday November 5 - Whangarei
Public Meeting – 7 p.m., Manaia PHO Rooms, Rust Ave, central Whangarei.

Tuesday November 9 – Auckland
Public Meeting – 7 p.m. Trades Hall, 147 Great North Road, Grey Lynn

Wednesday 10 – 9a.m. - 12 noon, Auckland University, Maori Studies, Women’s Forum with Coni Ledesma.
Friday 12 – 7 p.m. Solidarity Dinner, Civic Building, Strata 17, Mayoral Drive, Auckland. Tickets $30 (dinner, entertainment, cash bar).

This tour is collectively organised by Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA),
Auckland Philippines Solidarity and Wellington Kiwi-Pinoy

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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