DUTCH GOVT STOPS JOMA SISON'S BENEFITS

Manila, March 19, 2003 -- The Dutch Finance Ministry has again stopped giving exiled communist leader Jose Ma. Sison social security benefits, prompting his lawyers to accuse the Dutch government of violating a United Nations' Security Council resolution that supposedly accorded him protection from financial prosecution.

Until recently, Sison had been receiving a monthly living allowance of 201.37 euros and a monthly subsidy of 272.27 euros for his apartment rent, aside from medical insurance and insurance against legal accountability.

But in a letter to the Utrecht municipality dated last March 7, the Dutch Finance Ministry rejected the municipality's request to grant social welfare benefits to Sison, chief of the Communist Party of the Philippines and senior political consultant of the National Democratic Front.

The Dutch Finance Ministry ordered a stay in the release of benefits to Sison in August last year after the Dutch government and the European Union placed him in their list of terrorists.

The order was subsequently lifted in September and October 2002, but was again put into effect in the succeeding months.

The Committee to Defend Filipinos Abroad, formed to defend Sison's cause, said, "While the Dutch government and the Council of the European Union have cited United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 of Sept. 28, 2001 as the main basis for depriving Prof. Sison of his basic needs, they completely disregard and grossly violate UN Security Council Resolution 1452 adopted on Dec. 20, 2002."

Under the latter resolution, the group said the UN Security Council ruled that funds and other financial assets or economic resources necessary for basic expenses, including payments for foodstuff, rent or mortgage, medicines and medical treatment, taxes and insurance premiums, should not be denied those affected by the member-states' (fight against) terrorism.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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