By FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Spokesperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
In his continuing tirade against the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), Atty. Alex Padilla, Chairperson of the Negotiating Panel of the Government of the Philippines (GPH), glosses over the fact that the New People’s Army (NPA) has already released seven (7) prisoners of war (POWs) since Benigno Aquino III became president.
Worse, Padilla also glosses over the extra-judicial killings (50), disappearances (8) and arbitrary arrests and detention (25) committed by the Aquino regime and the accumulated 350 political prisoners under its custody.
Padilla must understand that the current POWs under the custody of the NPA in Mindanao have been arrested in the course of the armed revolution and are not protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) like those 17 the GPH is obliged to release under the terms of the JASIG and the 2011 Oslo Joint Statements. Neither have the POWs of the NPA been the subject of agreement between the GPH and NDFP negotiating panels. Padilla implies the need to exchange prisoners but perversely accuses the NDFP of demanding such exchange.
Padilla insists on scuttling the peace negotiations by persisting in the wrong view that the GPH is under no obligation to comply with the JASIG and that there is no need for the GPH and NDFP negotiating panels to meet before the Reciprocal Working Committees on Social and Economic Reforms (RWCs SER) and other sub-panel organs of the two sides meet, despite certain outstanding problems that the panels have to tackle.
Padilla continues to lie that there have been 24 years of peace negotiations. The GPH and NDFP negotiating panels have been able to meet and have normal recesses for a total of only two years because of the GPH declarations of unsheathing the sword of war, indefinite suspensions, termination and collapse, and its non-compliance with agreements.
Since taking on the position as chairperson of the GPH Negotiating panel, Padilla has allowed himself to become the tool of Deles and those forces that do not wish to address the roots of the armed conflict. He has become a pliant purveyor of lies and military psywar aimed at reversing and nullifying solemn agreements between the GRP/GPH and the NDFP, and destroying the peace negotiations.
It is obvious that Padilla and the pro-imperialist and ultra-reactionary forces behind him are not interested in reaching agreements on basic reforms or even only a declaration of common intent as the basis for a truce. They perversely consider as capitulation for the GPH to make any agreement with the NDFP that upholds national independence and democracy and requires land reform and national industrialization to realize social justice and genuine development.