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‘All-out war’ targets public, not just Reds–militant solon

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Bayan Muna Rep. Isagani Zarate on Monday called on the government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to stop the all-out war against communist rebels, saying it is not only a war against the Reds, but against the people.

“Tila go-signal para sa mga sabik-sa-gerang AFP na kating-kati ang mga palad sa paghahasik ng karahasan sa mamamayan ang pagkansela ng usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng Gobyerno ng Republika ng Pilipinas at ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP),” Zarate said in a privilege speech.

To make a point, Zarate cited that 19 people were illegally arrested since Duterte cancelled the peace talks, including Ariel Arbitario, an NDFP consultant, non-government workers, and militant group members.

READ: Duterte: No more peace talks with Reds without ‘compelling reason’

Zarate, also the vice-chairman of the House committee on peace, reconciliation and unity, condemned the killings.

“Higit na nakakabahala, Ginoong Speaker, ang pag-igting sa pampulitikang pamamaslang. Sa loob lamang ng tatlong linggo ng Pebrero, siyam na manggagawa, magsasaka, at katutubo ang pinatay,” he added.

Zarate likened it to martial law, and all-out wars by other administrations before Duterte, saying that it will not combat the rebels but will only result to killings of the civilians, violation of rights and political repression.

“Ginoong Speaker, ang idineklarang all-out war ng Department of National Defense ay malinaw na all-out war sa mamamayan,” he said.

“Pinatunayan na ng mahabang kasaysayan na ang pagresolba sa rebelyon ay hindi bala at dahas,” Zarate added.

He said that the government will have higher chances of resolving the armed conflict by going back to the negotiation table and addressing socio-economic reforms, which is the root cause of the said conflict.

“Nananatiling bukas ang NDFP sa pakikipag-usap, at kamakailan lamang ay nagpahayag ang CPP-NPA-NDF na handa silang makipagkasundo sa isang bilateral ceasefire agreement, kalakip ang pagpapalaya sa mga bilanggong pulitikal at gayon rin ang pagpapalaya sa mga prisoners of war na nasa kanilang pangangalaga,” he said.

The solon called on the administration to end reckless violence.

“Dapat nitong rendahan ang walang habas na karahasan ng AFP at iba pang pwersa ng Estado na pumapatay, nagkukulong, at nandarahas sa mamamayan,” Zarate said. CDG

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