‘Make killings an int’l issue,’ says political scientist

By Luige del Puerto
Last updated 03:38am (Mla time) 08/03/2006

Published on page A2 of the August 3, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

A POLITICAL scientist who suggested that the unabated killing of leftist activists might be part of state policy has come up with a four-point response to help check the murders.

The response includes challenging in forums the national security directions being adopted by the government, raising awareness about the assassinations in the international community, holding forums aimed at scrutinizing the national security policy, and seeking dialogues with key officials executing this policy.

“A saturation point where government will see that it will ultimately lose politically on the domestic and international fronts if it continues to follow this security track needs to be reached soon in order to stop this bloodletting,” Prof. Miriam Coronel Ferrer said in an article e-mailed to the Inquirer.

United Nations

On the international front, Ferrer said peace and human rights activists should bring the killings to the attention of the United Nations.

Locally, communities can be asked to issue statements condemning the murders, she said.

“[We should] generate more provincial or localized responses such as the publicized statement, ‘We thirst for peace,’ in Bulacan. Contacts in provinces where most victims came from should be encouraged to draw up similar responses,” she said.

“Meanwhile, other provinces should also be asked to issue ‘preventive’ statements, where they ask that their localities be spared from these violations,” she said.

Balancing act

Ferrer suggested a “balancing of ‘case-specific’ and ‘big picture’ responses.”

She added: “On the former, support groups can be formed for each case or similar set of cases. On the latter, more forums can be held looking at the national security policy of the government.

“These forums can be organized singly or jointly by the academe, NGOs (nongovernment organizations), lawyers groups, and peace and human rights coalitions.

“The government’s national security directions should be seriously challenged.”

Ferrer urged peace advocates to:

Write an open letter to the UN on the fact of the Philippines being elected to the Human Rights Council amid all the killings and call on the government to make good its pledges to this body.

Request meetings or dialogues with foreign embassies, the Executive Secretary, the military and police, the defense department, and the National Security Council on this concern.

Ferrer teaches the politics and history of Southeast Asia at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

She was earlier sought by the Inquirer to comment on how the Philippines’ neighbors had dealt with and crushed communist insurgencies in their respective territories.

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