Two local groups on Tuesday asked the Netherlands to hand over Jose Maria Sison to the Philippine government, saying the European country was coddling the Communist Party of the Philippines founder who was responsible for the deaths of child soldiers recruited by the New People’s Army.
In a letter to Netherlands Ambassador to the Philippines Saskia de Lang, the Liga Independencia Pilipinas and the League of Parents of the Philippines said the Dutch government continued to harbor “the chief architect of this violent insurgency who committed unspeakable acts, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Filipinos and destroying the economic livelihood of thousands more.”
The groups said Sison should face justice in Manila for violating the Anti-Terrorism Act, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, and the Special Protection of Women and Children Against Abuse Act.
LIPI Secretary General Jose Antonio Goitia and LPP President Remedios Rosario told de Lang that the local Anti-Terrorism Council had designated Sison and 18 CPP members as terrorists and that they violated five sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
In the letter, Goitia and Rosario also brought up examples of child soldiers recruited by the NPA—the armed wing of the CPP and the National Democratic Front—and reminded the Dutch envoy that the Netherlands is a signatory of the Free Children from War Conference, a pact signed in 2007 in Paris, France.
They cited the case of Lady Desiree Miranda, who they said was recruited by Anakbayan, a front of the CPP-NPA-NDF, when she was only 14 years old.
“She received radicalization courses and became an NPA urban operator before joining the communist terrorism (Red Area Operation) at the Caraballo Guerrilla Front covering the areas on Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, and Pangasinan. She became a full-fledged member of the NPA at the age of 18,” they told the Dutch ambassador.
Miranda “is only one of the countless children” recruited by the CPP-NPA-NDF, the groups said, but she “is extremely lucky as she was not killed by armed confrontation with Philippine forces.”
“Others, Mr. Ambassador, have not been so fortunate. The majority of them die. Their parents' hopes and dreams were buried alongside their children,” Goitia and Rosario told de Lang in the letter.
They said the Netherlands’ continued refusal to cooperate with the Philippine authorities “makes your country an accomplice to the atrocities committed by this terrorist group,” as Sison “continues to orchestrate, control and advise the CPP-NPA on how to bring down our government and destroy the fabric of our society.”
“We consider your actions to be detrimental to our national security and the safety of our citizens. We demand Joma Sison's prompt return (in whatever form) to stand trial for the 53 years of extreme brutality he and his murderous group inflicted on the Filipino people.
His return will not be bargained for. We have been through enough,” they said.