Rotary International honored two National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants—one recently martyred, the other in jail—with peace awards in a ceremony at the Philippine International Convention Center Wednesday, February 27.
Felix Randy Malayao, brutally shot to death while asleep inside a bus in Nueva Vizcaya last January 30, and Rey Claro Casambre, arrested while on his way home by police and military agents last December 7, were given Ang Kapayapaan (Akap) Awards by the club’s International District 3830 based in Fort Bonifacio Global City.
The district’s Akap Awards is given to individuals and groups for their distinct contribution in advancing the cause of peace, the club said.
“This is specifically intended to pay tribute to the advocates of the resolution of the homegrown armed conflict on our soil,” Rotary Club District 3830 president Raul M. Francia said in a letter to Malayao’s family.
The awards is one of Rotary International’s many ways to inspire others to be of greater service to humanity and give modest share to the arduous task of bringing about sustainable peace, he added.
As NDFP consultants, Malayao and Casambre were NDFP’s most active advocates, attending numerous peace forums in the Philippines and abroad.
Both attended formal peace negotiations in Europe since August 2016 as well as working group meetings in the Philippines.
The two awardees participated in the crafting of land reform and rural development as well as national industrialization and economic development agreements with the government peace panel.
But Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation No. 360 in November 2017 terminating peace negotiations with the NDFP.
In a bid to restart negotiations, the NDFP and GRP negotiating panels jointly crafted a stand down agreement in June 2018 as well as guidelines and procedures of an interim peace agreement and a draft amnesty proclamation for hundreds of political prisoners.
Duterte again cancelled the negotiations after, however, forcing most other NDFP peace consultants to take safety precautions, preventing them from carrying duties related to the peace negotiations.
NDFP consultants Adelberto Silva and Vicente Ladlad were arrested by government forces in October and November 2018 respectively.
Another consultant, Rafael Baylosis was arrested in January 2018 but was released earlier this year after the Quezon City Regional Trial Court dismissed charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against him.
Only Malayao and Casambre remained available for numerous speaking engagements mostly organized by church groups and schools until the latter’s arrest and the former’s assassination.
Last week, Duterte again hinted he is open to restarting the peace negotiations.
Rotary’s other Akap awardees included Government of the Republic of the Philippines chief negotiator Silvestre H. Bello III, resigned Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s Mohagher Igbal and former Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and Davao Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)