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    Kin of tortured, slain NPA want justice, call for resumption of peace negotiations

    The family of Recca Noelle Monte, a member of the New People’s Army who was tortured and slain in the course of the combat operations of the 41st Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, in Lacub, Abra last September 4, 2014, has joined calls for the resumption of peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

    Speaking at a forum in UP Manila sponsored by youth organization Concerned Students for Justice and Peace, Jang Monte, sister of Recca said, “We cry for justice and we like to exhaust all avenues to seek justice for our loved ones who were inhumanely killed and desecrated in this war. The resumption of the peace negotiations provides us with yet another venue where we can raise our concerns.”

    Randall Echanis, peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, spoke at the forum on the background and current state of the peace talks. Also participating in the forum are Manobo youth from Talaingod, Davao del Norte, who are in Manila to demand the pull-out of military troops in their communities, and call to stop the attacks on alternative schools built by indigenous people communities.

    Monte shared in the forum the autopsy report conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation on Recca, revealing that her body bore no bullet wounds and that she died of massive traumatic injuries. Her skull resembled that of a “crushed egg” and her legs bore multiple fractures. “This leads us to believe that she was indeed taken alive by the military and tortured until her last breath.”

    Six other members of the New People’s Army who died in the same military operation bore distinct marks of torture and desecration, with their bodies riddled with bullets. Two civilians were also killed: Engr. Fidela Salvador, who was at the site to monitor projects being implemented by the Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Service, and Noel Viste, a resident of Lacub who was among those who tried to retrieve the remains of those killed.

    “The torture and death of Recca Noelle Monte, the desecration of her remains as well as those of her comrades in Lacub, Abra, and the death of civilians are clear violations of International Humanitarian Law. Addressing these violations and ensuring that perpetrators are meted with the full force of the law is imperative so that peace negotiations can resume,” said Jang.

    She added, “For as long as these violations of IHL and the CARHRIHL continue with impunity, and for as long as the Philippine government refuses to address or even encourages these violations committed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines by way of rewarding erring military elements, the Aquino government is in fact proving to be the biggest hindrance to the resumption of negotiations and to peace.”

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