Families of slain acti-vists in Mindanao appealed to President Duterte to re-sume peace talks with the communists and to end the army’s all-out war as it has targeted activists like their slain family members.
This was the appeal made by Irene Anglao, daughter of slain lumad leader Renato Anglao of Quezon, Bukidnon, during a press conference Friday by Mindanao church leaders calling for the resumption of peace talks. Irene and other families were invited to give their testimonies to the effects of the all-out war to their families and communities.
Irene demanded jus-tice for her father’s death. “His death is linked to the struggle for our land,” said Irene, as she explained their community’s struggle from an estate owner who wanted to lease their land for agribusiness.
“Many of our lumad leaders here in Bukidnon are killed. We need peace talks because this is for everyone, we can see in our experiences how many lives are lost,” she said.
Although Anglao was killed prior to the army’s declaration of the all-out war, five lumads and farmer-leaders in Minda-nao were killed in February in the course of the all-out war.
Another testimony came from Carmelita Ramos, mother of slain Bayan Muna member Glen Ramos in Barangay Maa, Davao City last February 6. State forces claimed her son Ramos was a supply officer for the New People’s Army, which she denied.
Bishop Felixberto Ca-lang, convener of Sowing the Seeds of Peace, sup-ported the families’ call for justice, and said these testimonies are “compelling reasons for the (peace) talks to continue.”
Calang, who was an observer in the peace talks in Rome last January, said the talks between the go-vernment and the National Democratic Front was achieving substantive points about socio-economic re-forms before President Duterte called off the talks over ceasefire issues.
“The talks have been visited by a series of unfor-tunate events. And a series of unfortunate consequen-ces. From the termination of the JASIG to the decla-ration of all-out war, the road to peace became much more turbulent,” said Calang.
Calang said his and other groups would hold peace rallies all over Min-danao “calling for the conti-nuation of the GRP-NDFP peace talks and denouncing the policy of all-out war.”