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US Gov't Should Follow Suit From Mandela by Removing
Sison, CPP, NPA Off Terrorist List As Well

Reference: BAYAN USA Executive Committee
July 3, 2008

The US Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or BAYAN USA, a national alliance of Filipino organizations in the United States expresses heartfelt congratulations to South African freedom-fighter Nelson Mandela over his recent dropping from the a dated US immigration watchlist of possible terrorists. The US State Department has also dropped Mandela's organization, the African National Congress (ANC) from the same list after more than decades of being tagged. This precedes the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list developed by the US State Department after September 11, 2001. BAYAN USA also calls on the US government to follow suit with this momentous victory by dropping Professor Jose Maria Sison, another freedom-fighter and political refugee in the Netherlands, as well as his former organizations the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), off the FTO listing as well.

Effective last Tuesday, President George W. Bush signed off on a bill that would allow Mandela to travel to the United States without having to get certification from the US Secretary of State that he's not a terrorist. "Today the United States finally has removed from its legal code a vestige of that time of collective insults against human dignity," said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman, one of the bill's supporters.

"Categorizing someone as admired as Nelson Mandela and the ANC as terrorists is an indication that US government labels are ridiculous and not indicative of the truth. Nelson Mandela was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his activism while the US government listed him as a terrorist. Meanwhile, Jose Maria Sison is still demonized by the US and Philippine governments and European Union, and is still in exile. The reality is that what Sison symbolizes to the marginalized and impoverished Filipino majority and others around the world is also deserving of worldwide admiration, not condemnation," states BAYAN USA Chair Chito Quijano.

As for the CPP-NPA listing, the alliance stood firm that although they themselves do no endorse or engage in armed struggle, they assert the listing of these organizations as terrorists are unfounded and unjust.

"Just like the US State Department retracted its listing of the ANC as a terrorist organization, they should also retract such labels on the CPP-NPA. If we are to qualify terrorist organizations as those who inflict unnecessary harm and sow fear among the people, the Philippine military under the command of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime is more of the real terrorist, not the CPP-NPA. They are waging a principled struggle in the countryside based on legitimate demands of the majority of the Filipino people who are fed up with a rotten and abusive system. We may have no link to them, but we do recognize the legitimacy of their fight as a popular one, " Quijano added.

"If Mandela and the ANC can be hastily labeled as terrorists by the US government then be dropped decades later out of acknowledged error in judgement, surely we can deduce that the US government was just as hasty and erroneous when they labeled Sison, the CPP, and the NPA as terrorist organizations as well. We hope the US government will also acknowledge their error as they did with Mandela and the ANC," Quijano ended.

The FTO labels on the CPP-NPA were a strong contributing factor to declaring the Philippines as the so-called Second Front to the War on Terror by the Bush administration in 2002. This led to the massive deployment of US troops to the Philippines to conduct joint military exercises under the auspices of anti-terrorism.

Professor Jose Maria Sison has been the target of several assassination attempts, including an illegal arrest and raid last year in Utrecht. Although a recognized political refugee in the Netherlands, Sison's democratic right to travel and to work were stripped due to the FTO listings of the US government and EU. His office in Utrecht remains a popular hangout for peace and anti-war advocates visiting the Netherlands. ###

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