Prof. Jose Ma. Sison's Release: Step up vigilance against further
As we applaud the release of Prof.
Jose Ma. Sison from the Dutch detention center on September 13,
2007, we call on all peace-loving Cordillerans and Filipinos to
remain vigilant against further political persecution of Prof. Sison
and all Filipino progressives in the Netherlands. He was released
upon order of the District Court of The Hague, with no sufficient
evidence against him against the charges.
Prof. Sison is a key figure in the national democratic
movement of the Philippines and the international anti-imperialist
movement. He chairs the International Coordinating Committee of
the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS), of which the
Cordillera Peoples Alliance is an active member. The ILPS is an
anti-imperialist, democratic formation that promotes, supports and
develops the anti-imperialist and democratic struggles of the peoples
of the world against imperialism, and specifically including indigenous
peoples' struggle for self-determination and defense of their ancestral
lands and territories. He is not a terrorist or criminal as what
the AFP and Arroyo regime, US, EU and Dutch governments claim in
Who is Prof. Jose Ma. Sison?
Despite having a comfortable and secure life as the son of a landlord
in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, Sison chose to be a revolutionary and fight
for the interest of the oppressed, until he founded the Communist
Party of the Philippines in 1968, leaving behind the privileges
he was born into, including his personal interests. His class origin
did not rob him blind of the hardship of the Filipino people. He
graduated cum laude (AB in English Literature) from the University
of the Philippines in 1959, where he also obtained his Master of
Arts in Comparative Literature. He also taught at UP, Araneta University,
and at the Lyceum of the Philippines.
He was arrested and detained for 9 years under the
Marcos dictatorship, where he was subjected to all sorts of torture,
such as 3 years of solitary confinement. He was released under the
Aquino administration since the two subversion and rebellion charges
against him were nullified. Later still during the Aquino government,
his passport was cancelled, and the threats to his life mounted.
In spite of these, he never abandoned his principles and conviction
to struggle for the rights of the Filipino people. He sought political
asylum in the Netherlands and has lived a simple life therein for
20 years now.
A renowned poet and writer, Sison has published
commendable literature such as At Home in the World with critically
acclaimed novelist and Filipino activist Ninotchka Rosca, poems
such as Prison and Beyond (SEA Write Award, 1986; National Book
Award for Poetry, 1985), among others, and poems Sometimes, the
Heart Yearns for Mangoes, The Guerilla is Like a Poet, The Coming
of the Rain etc.
Prof. Sison is not a terrorist, but one of the few
individuals who gave up personal interests to pursue a life of struggle
for peace and social justice for the oppressed Filipino people,
and he continues to do so to this day, battling decades of political
Behind the arrest
Indeed, Sison's arrest and continuing political persecution cannot
hide imperialist interests manifested by the connivance of the Philippine,
US and Dutch governments. The Dutch government maintains the trumped-up
charges against Sison despite the order from the District Court
of The Hague maintaining insufficient evidence against the charges.
Sison also remains in the "foreign terrorist" list of
the European Union, US and Canadian governments since 2002. Yet,
his release is indeed a slap onto the arrogance of power of these
imperialist states. The Dutch government has long denied Prof. Sison
the refugee status he is entitled to, despite the decision from
the Raad van State declaring Sison qualified and entitled to refugee
status. The Dutch state immediately declared Prof. Sison a terrorist
shortly after the US government did on August 12, 2002.
The Dutch Foreign Ministry admits in its website
that the Sison's inclusion in the terrorist list, along with the
CPP-NPA, was done in compliance with the request of the US, adding
that the only burden in the Philippines-Netherlands ties is the
"presence of the communist leadership in Utrecht". The
Dutch government has significant economic interests in the Philippines,
as it is the 5th largest foreign investor based on the 2001-2006
foreign direct investments of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. In
2006, 27 Dutch firms were enlisted in the top 1,000 corporations
in the county.
The Netherlands is the second most reliable ally
of the US in Europe, next to Great Britain. The Philippines meanwhile
is the US' main ally in South East Asia.
Sison's arrest may have been overcome, but we do
not discount the fact that in coming days, Sison will again be arrested,
as the Philippine, Dutch and US governments are hell-bent on its
"war on terror", thereby stepping up its supposed anti-terror
rampage by politically persecuting the likes of Sison, who is the
Chief Political Consultant of the National Democratic Front of the
Philippines (NDFP). However, let us be reminded that the trumped
up charges been dismissed time and again in Philippine courts including
the Court of First Instance in Europe as these have no legal basis.
On the peace negotiations between the NDFP and
Government sincerity in the peace talks is once more put into question
when it pleaded the Dutch and US governments for the arrest of the
NDFP Political Consultant, and earlier, branding as terrorists individuals,
groups or organizations advocating for just and lasting peace in
the Philippines. The Arroyo government has no interest in peace
as it always sabotaged the peace talks with the NDFP. The essence
of the peace talks brings us back to the existence and intensity
of armed conflict in the Philippines, which the peace negotiations
intend to address based on joint agreements entered into by the
NDFP and Philippine government, such as the Comprehensive Agreement
on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law
(CARHRIHL), the Hague and Oslo Declarations, which, based on experience
has been consistently violated by the Philippine government especially
the Arroyo regime.
The plight of the oppressed peoples around the world
is intensifying with the onslaught of imperialist globalization
manifested in economic, social and cultural conditions, including
the very grave state of human rights. In the Philippines as a matter
of fact, the state has seemingly dislodged all knowledge it has
on the respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.
If the Arroyo government thinks this is not true, then it has to
show sincerity in resuming the peace talks with the NDFP and move
forward to the second substantive agenda on socio-economic reforms,
to political reforms before the last stage on cessation of hostilities
and disposition of forces, as we challenge the GRP/AFP to respect
and implement CARHRIHL and human rights.
Thus, we intensify our call to the Arroyo regime,
together with the US and Dutch governments, to stop political persecution
of Prof Sison and all Filipino progressives in the Netherlands;
for the Arroyo regime to stop political persecution and killings
in the Philippines. We unite with the peoples of the world in the
struggle against imperialism, and call on all freedom and peace
loving Filipinos to be vigilant against the attacks to our basic
rights and freedoms. As said, Evil prevails when good men do nothing.
CORDILLERA PEOPLES ALLIANCE
September 18, 2007
Baguio City, Philippines