Release Baylosis and all political prisoners, resume GRP-NDFP peace talks

Karapatan condemns in the strongest terms the arrest of National Democratic of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Rafael Baylosis and his companion Roque Guillermo Jr. on the afternoon of January 31, 2018. Baylosis’ relatives sought Karapatan’s help in locating him, after they received initial reports on his arrest. At 10pm last night, Karapatan dispatched a quick reaction team to the CIDG-NCR office in Camp Crame, Quezon City, where they were able to confirm that Baylosis and Guillermo were arrested and detained. Both are currently detained at the Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) – NCR inside the premises of Camp Crame, Quezon City. Baylosis, a member of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Group on Political and Constitutional Reforms, is already 69 years old, and is also suffering from heart ailments.

“The government has again focused its efforts in the persecution of peace consultants. Instead of working to resolve the roots of the armed conflict by way of pursuing the peace talks, the Duterte regime has instead resorted to fascist reprisals. We strongly condemn the illegal arrest of peace consultant Rafael Baylosis and Roque Guillermo, as we demand their immediate release,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, underscoring that their arrest is in violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

Palabay added that “the peace process is a concern for all peace-loving citizen. The Duterte government should not merely gloss over this important issue and resort to the illegal arrest of peace consultants and activists. As of December 31, 2017, there are 486 political prisoners, 145 of whom were arrested under Duterte and six are peace consultants and JASIG-protected persons.” 

After the long stalled peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of Philippines (GRP) resumed in August of 2016, the negotiations have been indefinitely stalled again as the GRP continued to renege on its obligations to release NDFP peace consultants detained in violation of the standing JASIG, release political prisoners, and follow through with its responsibilities and obligations under the previously signed agreements between the two parties, including the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). 

“To put things in simple terms: there can only be holistic progress and development if there is peace, but there can only be peace if it is based on justice. This is not a difficult idea to grasp and there have already been notable advances in this aspect, had it not been hampered by Duterte and his fellow militarist and treacherous elements in government. Karapatan calls for the immediate release of NDFP peace consultant Rafael Baylosis, the release of political prisoners in line with the GRP’s obligation under CARHRIHL and JASIG, and the resumption of the peace talks,” concluded Palabay.

Reference:  Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580