The NDFP is open to continuing peace talks


LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
01 May 2013

The Aquino regime is acting irresponsibly by issuing bellicose statements about terminating the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. It again shows no respect for binding peace agreements. For one, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) of 1995 requires that written notice be given by one party to the other in order to terminate the JASIG and the peace negotiations. No written notice of termination of the JASIG and the peace negotiations has been given by the GPH to the NDFP.

The reported statement of GPH Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda that OPAPP Secretary Teresita Deles has informed the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) about the GPH's termination of the peace talks with the NDFP is completely untrue. Ambassador Ture Lundh, the Royal Norwegian facilitator states that neither formally nor informally has the RNG been informed by the GPH of such termination.

The JASIG stipulates that only 30 days after receipt of the written notice, is the termination in effect. Furthermore, all immunity guarantees contained in the JASIG remain in full force even after such termination.

The NDFP has continually asserted that it is committed to peace negotiations that address the roots of the armed conflict and pave the way to a just and lasting peace.

However, GPH Negotiating Panel Chairperson Alexander Padilla falsely accuses the NDFP of putting preconditions before resuming formal peace talks. He mentions the NDFP demand for the release of detained NDFP consultants. Such NDFP demand, however, is not a precondition but an obligation of the GPH. It calls for respect for and compliance with the JASIG of 1995 and the Oslo agreement signed in February 2011. This is a matter of GPH's word of honor.

The public should be informed that the GPH under the Aquino regime has not released a single detained NDFP consultant in compliance with JASIG. All the five NDFP consultants released since 2010 have been due to legal actions undertaken by their lawyers.

The Aquino regime has shamelessly continued the the Arroyo regime's practice of arresting and detaining NDFP consultants on false charges of common crimes and thereby violating both the JASIG and Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). The Aquino regime has also ignored NDFP demands for the serious investigation of the disappearance, torture and extrajudicial killing of NDFP consultants under the Arroyo regime.

It is the GPH that insists on the precondition of indefinite ceasefires in violation of the The Hague Joint Declaration which puts the agenda on end of hostilities and disposition of forces as the final agreement after forging agreements on social and economic, and political and constitutional reforms. Without basic economic, social and political reforms there cannot be a just and lasting peace in the country.

The GPH also violates the aforesaid declaration by preconditioning formal talks with the capitulation or surrender of the NDFP and the forces and people under the guise of demanding indefinite ceasefire. It is preposterous to expect the NDFP to agree to an indefinite ceasefire that would give ground to the GPH to ignore more than ever before the substantive agenda on social, economic and political reforms.

Since March 1998, after the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the NDFP has given the GRP (now calling itself GPH) the NDFP Draft of a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforsm (CASER). But up to now, the GPH has not submitted its own draft on CASER. In fact, it has resisted taking up genuine land reform and national industrialization as key points to address the roots of the armed conflict.

Now the GPH even declares “national industrialization” an outmoded concept. Yet no country in the world has ever achieved economic development without national industrialization. The GPH's concept of neoliberal globalization has been roundly discredited in developing Latin American countries. At the February 2013 talks, the GPH representatives even called land reform and national industrialization “ideologically charged” concepts when these are patriotic and progressive demands.

In short, what the GPH wants is to justify the continuing plunder of our natural resources, the destruction of the environment and the exploitation of our people, especially the indigenous peoples by big foreign multinational mining, logging and agricultural companies. This plunder by foreign monopoly corporations is dubbed by the GPH as “industrialization”.

The NDFP is willing to move towards the resumption of formal peace talks, based on the previously signed binding agreements. The peace negotiations should address the roots of the armed conflict through fundamental economic, social and political reforms which will pave the way to a just and lasting peace. We are glad to know that the RNG remains committed to help in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations.

The GPH-NDFP peace negotiations can advance only on the basis of the agreements forged since 1992. Even the special track of seeking truce and cooperation is possible only because of the continuing validity and effectivity of the aforesaid agreements. It is reckless for anyone on the GPH side to say that it can pursue alternative ways of negotiating with the NDFP by ignoring or violating these agreements.