By FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Spokesperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
Chairperson, NDFP Human Rights Committee
Through the press releases of Nieves Confesor, the Arroyo regime has been flagrantly telling lies about the informal talks between the negotiating panels of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). I wish to focus on two big lies of the regime.
First, Confesor claims falsely that the GRP is agreeable to the resumption of formal meetings of the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels. Then she accuses the NDFP of being opposed to said resumption for refusing to accept the kind of prolonged ceasefire demanded by GRP which entails the surrender of the NDFP, the pacification of the revolutionary forces and the scrapping of all previouly signed bilateral agreements between GRP and NDFP.
During the informal talks in Oslo, Confesor engaged in self-contradictions from the beginning to the end. On the one hand, she pretended to agree with the NDFP panel on the need to reaffirm and comply with the aforesaid bilateral agreements prior to the resumption of formal meetings of the panels. On the other hand, she preconditioned said resumption of formal meetings with a prolonged ceasefire that amounts to surrender and pacification of the revolutionary forces, casting away all the previously signed agreements and converting the peace negotiations to surrender negotiations.
Thus, no written agreement whatsoever could be finalized and signed by the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels in Oslo. Ultimately, Confesor preconditioned all possible mutually agreeable points with the surrender and pacification of the revolutionary forces and the people under the pretext of a prolonged ceasefire.
Second, Confesor is spreading the lie that the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels have agreed on an undefined kind of ceasefire. In fact, she failed to trick the NDFP negotiating panel into accepting a prolonged ceasefire that amounts to the surrender and pacification of the revolutionary forces and involves the violation of The Hague Joint Declaration in several respects.
Failing to get the kind of prolonged ceasefire that she demanded, she rebuffed all other kinds of ceasefire, including the one for the Christmas and New Year holidays on humanitarian grounds and the one for the duration of formal meetings of the negotiating panels as a goodwill and confidence building measure. Also, she did not care to offer any ceasefire for the orderly and safe release of the prisoners of war currently under the custody of the New People's Army.
Meanwhile, General Ermita who directs the GRP negotiating panel has declared that the GRP can always unilaterally declare a ceasefire on the holidays. As in previous years, the unilateral ceasefire of the GRP will be a phoney one even if declared and will be a cover for escalating military and police operations against the people and their revolutionary forces.
The NDFP negotiating panel is now recommending to its principal, the National Council of the NDFP, the following:
- NDFP negotiating panel shall withdraw the previous offer of ceasefire for the duration of formal meetings of the negotiating panels because this gesture of good will has been misinterpreted by the GRP as a manifestation of NDFP willingness to negotiate a prolonged ceasefire ahead and in lieu of peace negotoiations on social, economic, political and constitutional reforms. Without the NDFP withdrawal of said offer, the GRP panel will always preoccupy informal or formal talks with a premature demand for negotiating the fourth and last item in the agenda, which is the end of hostilities and disposition of forces.
- The NDFP negotiating panel will not agree to any kind of talks with its GRP counterpart unless there is a prior clear agenda. The reason as well as purpose is to prevent the GRP panel from wasting time and rendering the talks inutile by trying to violate The Hague Joint Declaration and the Agreement on Reciprocal Working Committees, which have stipulated the substantive agenda of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations in the following sequence: first, social and economic reforms; second, political and constitutional reforms; and third, end of hostilities and disposition of forces.
At any rate, the NDFP has received word from sources in the GRP presidential palace that the Arroyo regime is already planning to terminate the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and to blame the NDFP for the termination. The NDFP is not bothered by such threats and plans of the Arroyo-Ermita-Gonzales-Esperon militarist clique. The lameduck Arroyo regime is coming soon to an end. There are only six months left before Confesor's “election babble” preoccupies everyone on the GRP side. The NDFP is already looking forward to a new GRP administration.