NAPC Secretary Liza Maza expressed grave concern over the spate of killings in the country after a number of religious figures and indigenous peoples have reportedly been murdered in recent days.
"The poor now live in fear of going back to the 'dark days' and this is not what the administration has promised. The growing tally of deaths and displacement in rural communities sends a chilling effect to both the democratic process and nation-building," Maza said.
On-ground accounts show that eight Lumad in South Cotabato were killed while a priest was shot dead in Nueva Ecija days before the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day on December 10.
Maza cautioned the military in dealing with civilians in their operations and called on the national government to investigate cases of injustices and uphold democracy in governance.
The anti-poverty chief also expressed disappointment over the cancellation of the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF).
She said that the core component of the talks, the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), would have addressed the root causes of the armed conflict and poverty.
The termination of talks, however, signaled a step back in pursuing a just and lasting peace.
Peace and participation are two of the 10 basic needs that should be fulfilled for all Filipinos in order to overcome poverty, as identified by the NAPC in its flagship advocacy campaign Kilos SAMBAYANAN or Kilos para sa Sampung Batayang Pangangailangan.
“The people's participation in the democratic process and dissent are invaluable in poverty eradication by addressing its root causes, as well as attaining peace and justice. Only through vigilance can we achieve both,” Maza stressed.