The GPH is sabotaging the peace talks

Editorial, ANG BAYAN
21 March 2013
PDF available in Pilipino
PDF available in Pilipino

In the US-Aquino regime's desire to entrap both the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) into entering unjust peace agreements, MalacaƱang feigned interest in the "special track" which involves calling for an immediate ceasefire based on a general declaration of national unity and just peace signed by both the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the NDFP.

The NDFP has long been offering the "special track" in response to repeated demands by the Aquino regime for an immediate ceasefire. In line with the "special track," the two parties may enter into a ceasefire agreement if an accord could be reached on further advancing national freedom, democracy and human rights; an alliance could be formed between the Aquino regime and the NDFP in the form of a Committee for National Unity, Peace and Development; and genuine agrarian reform, rural development and national industrialization are implemented. These form the bases for a temporary ceaesefire to be entered into by the New People's Army (NPA) and its militia and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and their paramilitary forces.

Part of MalacaƱang's ruses were to send "special emissaries" led by Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Ronald Llamas in the last quarter of 2012, and to offer a meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam in early 2013 between Benigno Aquino III and Jose Ma. Sison, NDFP chief political consultant, as well as detained NDFP consultant Alan Jazmines. To create a favorable atmosphere for the "special track," the NDFP declared an extended ceasefire from December 20 to January 15.

But nothing came out of the talks on the "special track" held in December and February since Aquino's "special emissaries" were not authorized to enter into agreements or sign documents. It became apparent that the GPH's previous offer of a Hanoi meeting between Aquino and Sison was not a serious one either.

All the GPH wanted was to secure the NDFP's surrender through a hastily drawn declaration of unity bereft of substance and for the NDFP to be caught in a ceasefire of indefinite duration.

Now that the "special track" has come to nought and there is no clarity in sight on the resumption of the regular peace negotiations, Aquino's propagandists are spinning yarns about the regime's supposed desire to continue the peace negotiations and heaping the blame on the NDFP for the stalled talks.

In any case, Aquino and his minions could not cover up the fact that they have paralyzed the peace negotiations. The Third Party Facilitator from the Royal Norwegian Government was witness to all the NDFP's efforts to conduct serious negotiations and the GPH's stonewalling and maneuvering to sabotage the talks.

The GPH's conduct during the "special track" comes as no surprise. On the eve of the resumption of formal peace talks in February 2011, the Aquino regime showed contempt for the peace process by illegally arresting Alan Jazmines, one of the NDFP's key consultants. Aquino and his minions likewise assailed The Hague Joint Declaration which sets the framework of the talks and the substantive agenda in their proper order.

Aquino also declared the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) as inoperative to justify their refusal to release from prison the JASIG-protected NDFP consultants and personnel and blocked the NDFP reconstruction of its list of JASIG-protected consultants, security officers and staff.

Nonetheless, detainees that are being linked by the GPH to the revolutionary movement and armed struggle are being slapped with criminal cases instead of political cases in violation of the Hernandez doctrine of the reactionary government's own laws.

From the beginning, Aquino's minions have avoided any discussion on the necessity of addressing the roots of the armed conflict through social, economic and political reforms. Instead, at every turn in every meeting of the negotiating panels and special delegations, they have demanded directly the capitulation and pacification of the people's revolutionary movement.

It is obvious that the Aquino regime is not interested in peace negotiations to address the roots of the armed conflict and forge agreements on basic reforms. It is hell bent on waging war, carrying out the US-instigated Oplan Bayanihan and securing the NDFP's surrender.

Despite Aquino's utilization of the talks as merely for show, the revolutionary movement remains determined to tread this path to assert the resolution of the roots of the civil war through unity and alliance on the basis of a program that advances national sovereignty and democratic change.

At the same time, the Party and the NPA will continue to intensify the armed struggle and its program of advancing from the stage of strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate.

This is the people's only guarantee that the firm economic, political and social foundations for a just and lasting peace are put in place. Whether or not there are peace negotiations, this remains an aspiration of the revolutionary movement.