ANTIPOLO City, December 7, 2010—The Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) asailed Philippine Army spokesperson, Col. Antonio Parlade’s statement saying that the National Democratic Front’s call for the release of Morong 43 is a concrete evidence that the 43 health workers arrested in Morong, Rizal are truly members of the communist, New People’s Army (NPA).
Earlier, NDFP Peace Panel Chief, Luis Jalandoni has called for the immediate release of the Morong 43, as part of the preparation of the impending peace talks between the Philippine government and the Maoist, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Calling Parlade’s statement, ‘moronic’, Piya Malayao of KAMP said that the military just reacts out of stupidity.
“The Army’s spokesman spewed stupidity in his pronouncement that Jalandoni’s call to free the Morong 43 confirms their guilt… [This] practically lumps everyone who has called for their release members of the NPA,” said Malayao in her email.
Several human rights organizations, including the World Council of Churches, who payed a visit in the Philippines to see the human rights situation here, have called for the immediate release of the 43 health workers who are arrested by the 300-strong police-army contingent while they are conducting advanced medical training in a farm in Morong, Rizal last February 6, 2010.
“Even [retired] Bishop Teodoro Bacani and the CBCP had called for the release of the Morong 43, does that mean that they too, are guerillas? His (Parlade) words are unfitting and for a man who has reached such an esteemed position as Army spokesman,” says Malayao.
Among the arrested health workers were members of national minority groups, explained Malayao.
“Ray-um Among is a Mangyan, Mark Barrientos is a Dumagat, and Angela Doloricon is a fellow Igorot,” They are among the very few who had dared give service to indigenous Filipinos who are bereft of social services. Their continued detention is an injustice to the highest degree,” Malayao said.
Meanwhile, Malayao said that her group “looks forward o the resumption of peace talks, and [they are] hoping that the government will do what it can to create a good atmosphere for peace negotiations.
“[And] the release of political prisoners, including the Morong 43, [can be] a gesture of goodwill and sincerity of the Aquino government for just and lasting peace,” Malayao said.
In the meantime, KAMP and the Moro Christian People’s Alliance (MCPA) held a picket protest in the Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier this week to demand the release of the Morong 43 and Moro people Muhammadiya Hamja, Patta Hoyoh, and the Basilan 73, all accused of being members of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.
Another Dumagat, Eddie Cruz, is also unjustly detained for rebellion charges, according to KAMP (Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews).