Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Dec. 12, 1996 issue of Workers World newspaper
On the eve of a new round of negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front, Philippine cops arrested a top member of the NDF's negotiations team, Danilo Borjal. Talks were set to resume on Nov. 30, but the NDF called off any meetings until Borjal is released.
"The revolutionary force and the revolutionary movement should continue with its fight and rely on themselves to achieve true freedom and democracy in our country," Borjal wrote in an open letter on Nov. 30. The NDF represents communist and people's movements in the Philippines, including the New People's Army, which has waged an armed struggle against the U.S.-backed government since 1969.
The NDF charged that Borjal's arrest violates a Joint Agreement on Safety and and Immunity Guarantees signed by both sides.
On Nov. 27, Philippine authorities released Filemon Lagman, head of the Coalition of Philippine Workers, which organized demonstrations against the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in mid-November. Lagman charged the government with political harassment, saying: "It was very clear my arrest was linked to the APEC summit. Now that the summit is over, they set me free."
According to the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, there are at least 179 political prisoners in Philippine jails. On Nov. 6, 119 of them launched a hunger strike to call attention to their imprisonment.