Luis Jalandoni is the International Representative of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF), a post that he has held since 1977, and since 1994 he has been the Chairperson of the NDF’s Negotiating Panel for peace talks with the Government of the Philippines. The NDF is the coalition of several underground groups, including the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People’s Army, which has been waging a war of liberation throughout the Philippines for more than 40 years, making it one of the longest running armed struggles in the world. The country desperately needs peace with justice and security, so resolving this people’s war is central to that.
Luis (who previously toured New Zealand in 1987) has accepted our invitation to undertake a national speaking tour late in 2010 (November is the proposed month). His tour is being collectively organised and hosted by PSNA, Auckland Philippines Solidarity and Wellington Kiwi Pinoy. His topic will be: Justice And Liberation: The Road To Peace In The Philippines. We will put together a national network of people to organise and host him in several cities and towns in both islands. Luis will be accompanied by his wife Coni Ledesma, who will also be speaking. She is a member of the NDF Negotiating Panel for peace talks; and is the International Spokesperson of MAKIBAKA, a revolutionary women’s group which belongs to the NDF. This is the first time we’ve had two speakers together, let alone such high powered ones.
Luis and Coni are both veteran leading figures in the Philippine revolutionary Left. He was a Catholic priest in the 1960s and she was a nun. Both were founders of Christians for National Liberation, a member group of the NDF. When Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972, both went underground. They were both arrested and spent time as political prisoners. They left the clergy, and got married in 1974. They have lived in The Netherlands since 1976; they were the first Filipinos to apply for and receive political asylum there. They hold Dutch passports and travel extensively as NDF representatives.
We are appealing for funds. PSNA will underwrite the tour, but we definitely need financial help because we are hosting two people. The amount needed is at least $10,000. Two international fares from Europe will be the biggest cost. We will keep their domestic travel costs as cheap as possible (all accommodation will be in private homes). Please make cheques to PSNA, Box 2450, Christchurch, with a note saying that it is for the Jalandoni tour. Or, we will supply our bank account details upon request.
Luis Jalandoni’s tour presents a unique opportunity to hear firsthand about a four decades long war, and accompanying peace process, in our own backyard that is almost totally unknown to New Zealanders. Please help make this exciting tour possible.