By FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Spokesperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
The Government of the Philippines (GPH, formerly the GRP) through its negotiating panel is lying when it claims that Chairperson Luis Jalandoni of the negotiating panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has agreed to go into formal talks without the obligatory releases of all or most of the 17 JASIG-protected persons as provided for in the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Oslo joint statements of January and February 2011.
The GPH must recognize that compliance with the JASIG and the Oslo joint statements is not a precondition but an obligation. In refusing to recognize such obligation and claiming that the releases of the JASIG-protected persons depends on the whim of Alexander Padilla, Chairperson of the GPH negotiating panel, the GPH proves what the NDFP has been saying all along — that the GPH cannot be trusted to comply with mutually signed agreements, that it does not have word of honor, and that it has not been negotiating in good faith with the NDFP.
Since Benigno Aquino III came to power, the New People’s Army (NPA) has released seven (7) prisoners of war (POWs) on humanitarian grounds and as goodwill measure after due consideration for the safety of the POWs, their families and concerned local officials and personalities that interceded for their releases. Safety consideration includes the suspension of military and police operations to ensure that nothing untoward would happen to the POWs that would put the blame on the NPA.
In contrast, the GPH has released only five (5) of the 17 JASIG-protected individuals, most of whom have been in prison since the time of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, despite agreements to release all or most of them by June 2011 under the Oslo joint statements. The GPH also continues to detain more than 340 political prisoners in violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), despite appeals for their release by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), human rights groups and prominent personalities.
The GPH continues to harp that it has no obligations under signed agreements. And it preconditions the next round of formal talks with the continuing violations of the JASIG and CARHRIHL and reneging on agreements. The GPH has no interest in pursuing the peace negotiations with the NDFP.
The GPH is eager to scuttle the talks after failing to extract capitulation from the NDFP. It wants to escalate its military suppression campaign against the revolutionary movement and the people through Oplan Bayanihan, a US-designed counterrevolutionary strategy that is masked under the signboard of peace and development campaigns. The revolutionary movement is prepared for the escalation of the Aquino regime’s war of suppression through the intensification of mass struggles and heightening the people’s armed revolution in order to defend the people against the fascist onslaughts and brutalities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).