Petition Tag - afp

1. We support the burial of Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani

One of the divisive persons in Philippine's history is still not laid to rest in his final resting place. Vilified on one side and adored on the other. While people continue to judge him for what he did/did not do, this part of history needs a closure. Which may not be to everybody's liking. Still according to a recent press release, the AFP said that under its regulations, the following persons are qualified to be interred at the cemetery:

Medal of Valor awardees
Presidents or commander-in-chief, AFP
Secretaries of national defense
AFP chiefs of staff
Generals/flag officers of the AFP
Active and retired military personnel of the AFP (including active draftees and trainees who died in line of duty, and active reservists and CAFGU Active Auxiliary who died in combat-related activities)
Former members of the AFP who laterally entered or joined the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police
Veterans of Philippine Revolution of 1890, World War I, World War II, and recognized guerrillas
Government dignitaries, statesmen, national artist and other deceased persons whose interment and re-interment has been approved by the commander-in-chief, Congress or the secretary of national defense
Former presidents, secretaries of defense, dignitaries, statesmen, national artists, widows of former presidents, secretaries of national defense and chief of staff

Former President Marcos was a President and was a soldier. Therefore he is qualified to be laid to rest at the Heroes' Cemetery.

My father once said, history is written by the victors, so doubt anything you hear when they say something about the defeated.

President Marcos was vilified while those who started the rebellion that caused thousands of people to die and almost half a million displaced before the Martial Law are hailed as heroes. Vilified by those who were victorious who rallied the Philippines with a promise of a brighter future but instead dragged the country in the mud with worse cases of corruption and abuse of power. It is ironic isn't it, that the very person they accused who did not care about the people built majority of the infrastructures for the people which we still use today.

2. Call for a Royal Commission into the Australian Federal Police

The Australian Federal Police have been involved in a number of high profile prosecutions that have led to the conviction and incarceration of a number of innocent victims, including Capt. Fred Martens, Miss Jill Courtney, Dr Muhamed Haneef and the questionable rendition to Australia of the former Attorney-General of the Solomon Islands, Mr. Julian Moti QC in circumstances that can only be described as politically motivated.

Further, the AFP have exhibited questionable conduct in their dealings with the Bali Nine and Ms. Schapelle Corby. The recent trial and conviction of former AFP officer Mr Mark Standen for conspiring to import into Australia $130,000,000 of the precursor for making ice (i.e. pseudoephedrine) raises concerns of entrenched corruption within the AFP.

The murder of Australian Mr Drew Grant at the Freeport Mine in West Papua and subsequent allegations of tampering with the evidence contained within the victim’s body while in the custody of Australian authorities again points to possible corruption within Australia’s international security services, including the AFP.

The ongoing human rights abuses in West Papua being carried out by Detachment 88, which is trained and funded by the AFP, highlights the need for greater accountability within the AFP in its dealings with police and foreign security services.

The large number of refugees who died in the sinking of the SEIV X and the SIEV 221 and ongoing allegations that the AFP, through its agents, may have been involved in criminal conduct resulting in the deaths of these refugees needs to be investigated at the highest level.

Compounding these sad events are allegations from Portugal that Australian military intelligence personnel were involved in fomenting unrest in Timor-Leste, in order to further Australia’s political and commercial interests in the region. This lends weight to a suggestion that the AFP has become politicised and is being used as an instrument of terror, to pervert the rule of law, in order to further Australia’s neo-colonial interests in the region.

A number of high profile Australian citizens have been charged in controversial circumstances under Australia’s sex tourism laws and have either had their convictions quashed on appeal or are awaiting the outcome of the appeal process. The question needs to be asked as to whether these charges were brought out of a legitimate belief that a crime had been committed, or whether the AFP were acting solely to further Australia’s political and/or commercial interests in the region.

The murder of Mr Colin Winchester and the death of Ms Audrey Fagan, both senior AFP officers attached to ACT Policing (a command of the AFP) at the time of their deaths, must raise questions about why the smallest policing command in Australia has witnessed the deaths of two of its most senior officers. It is interesting to note that prior to his murder, Mr Colin Winchester was involved in investigating drug importation as part of his role with the AFP.

It’s for these reasons that I believe that it is necessary to hold a Royal Commission into the AFP.

3. Release the Prisoners of War

“For those who can not speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute, speak up and judge fairly. Defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31: 8-9

Interfaith Movement for Peace and the Release of Cammayo and Tumol (IMPACT)

(adopted as a work in progress at the November 27, 2008 Round-table Discussion
& Launching of IMPACT at Chippens Restaurant, Roxas Avenue, davao City)

We, members and convenors of Interfaith Movement for Peace and the Release of Cammayo and Tumol (IMPACT), commit ourselves to and advocate for the genuine peace-building and interfaith solidarity which are salient at this time when incessant hostilities between two warring parties-- the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) have been erupting all over Mindanao.

With the escalating numbers of human rights violations victimizing the hapless civilian populace, the constant threats and fears and the repeated fleeing of residents due to war happening in their communities, the killings of many soldiers from both sides and soldiers held as captives, it is in this Signs of Times that we come together to reverberate our loudest call for justice and genuine peace in our land.

With utmost consideration that 1Lt. Vicente Cammayo, company commander of the 11th Special Forces Company - 3rd SF Battalion, and PO3 Eduardo Cruzada Tumol of the 1105th Provincial Mobile Group-Philippine National Police (PNP) are still in the hands of the New Peoples Army (NPA) and being held as Prisoners of War (POW), we come as one to come up with safe and speedy resolution to this case.

Cammayo was captured in a tactical offensive by the NPA on the 3rd Special Forces Battalion at Sitio Anagase, Barangay Casoon in Monkayo, Compostela Valley last November 7. Tumol, on the other hand, was abducted at a checkpoint conducted by the NPA on November 5 in Barangay Baogo in Caraga, Davao Oriental.

These incidents further bring to light the matter of the peace negotiations with the short-term and long-term issues that are intimately related to it.

We are calling for the immediate and safe release of the two aforementioned prisoners of war on humanitarian grounds. We are urging the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to heed this call and we appeal to the New Peoples Army to adhere to the Geneva Protocols in handling humanely the Prisoners of War. We also deem it important that the government must be fully engaged with the case of the Prisoners of War and working to resolve this as soon as possible.

The families of both POW have been appealing on both sides for the immediate release of their kins. It is placing untold stress on their families; everyday they are waiting for firm news and updates with mounting anxiety. They have been waiting for the safe release of the two as they expressed hope that their kins will be released soon that they may join their respective families this Christmas. We are urging the government to return to the peace negotiating table so that no more families will have to go through this kind of torment and to start a step towards the path for genuine and lasting peace.
We strongly believe that there is an urgent need to suspend offensive military operations to facilitate the release of the two Prisoners of War (POW). It is the Government's responsibility to establish a conducive ground and condition for the safe and immediate release of the POW as well as to restore the basis for peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP. The Prisoners of War's well-being must be considered. Ultimately, the fate of the POW depends on establishing a just and lasting peace. We call on to the government to focus their efforts on ending this crisis.
We believe that there is no solution to the conflict by continued warfare and violence. Therefore, we declare that peace negotiations have to start without preconditions that might lead to further hostilities.

We come together with tremendous hope to defend life amidst forces of death, to overwhelm war with peace, and fight oppression with justice. We call for new policies based on the peaceful resolution of disputes between the two opposing parties in our country – the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP); respect for national sovereignty, Geneva Protocol, Comprehensive Agreement for the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the defense and regard of basic democratic freedoms to all; and social and economic justice.

We also seek to build a broad mass movement for peace and justice composed of church people, lawyers, academe, professionals, members of Local Government Unit and other sectors who are ready to painstakingly engage in the just struggle for genuine peace. We must understand that peace does not mean silence amidst injustice. It is one that recognizes the right to life and human dignity, a peace that is based on the common aspirations for a free and just society.
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.” (Matthew5:9)