I express my grave concern over the petition filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to declare as terrorists the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People's Army (NPA). The said petition contains a list of names that include those of peace negotiators and consultants, leaders and members of legal organizations, human rights workers, community organizers, former Catholic priests, and even some fellow activists who share our people’s desire for peace and justice.
Such a “terror list” is inconsistent with the administration’s promise to provide space for the democratic participation of the people and their organizations. I fear that this list may be used to intimidate and harass individuals and organizations whose legitimate causes are pushing for an agenda of change. We cannot allow such irreparable damage to the prospects of resuming the peace talks.
I thus urge the DOJ to withdraw the petition, given the dangers of a “terror list,” and join instead the call for the immediate resumption of the peace negotiations. At a time when Filipinos are clamoring for a long-awaited end to our country's many long-standing woes, such as poverty, there is simply no place for persecution and intimidation.
We cannot ignore or deny the roots of armed conflict by going after the members and leaders of democratic organizations that are advocating for comprehensive solutions. The government must ensure that there is ample space for meaningful and democratic participation of the people in this endeavor. Only then can the country move closer once again to achieving just and lasting peace.