By FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Spokesperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
The statements yesterday of Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and Chairperson Alexander Padilla of the Negotiating Panel of the Government of the Philippines (GPH, formerly designated as GRP) have made impossible the resumption of formal talks between the GPH and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Luis Jalandoni and Coni Ledesma, chairperson and member, respectively, of the NDFP Negotiating Panel have been exhausting all diplomatic and political means to ensure that the formal talks between the GPH and the NDFP push through on a principled basis.
But the GPH response has been to publicly declare that it has no intention of complying with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Oslo joint statements of January and February 2011 by denying its obligation to release all or most of the 17 JASIG-protected individuals (as of February 2011) under its military custody.
Padilla even attempted to throw the blame on the NDFP for the GPH own non-compliance by citing the unsuccessful decrypting of the encrypted photographs in the safety deposit box. Padilla feigns ignorance of the connivance between the GRP/GPH and the Dutch government in the raids conducted on seven houses in The Netherlands and the confiscation of all electronic equipments, including the decrypting diskettes, which resulted in the fouling up of the decryption code and the non-return of the most important diskette.
Chairperson Jalandoni has made clear that the NDFP is determined to pursue the peace negotiations with the GPH to address the roots of the armed conflict, forge agreements on basic social, economic and political reforms, and pave the way for a just and lasting peace in the country. But the GPH must show good faith and comply with signed agreements – in this particular case the JASIG and Oslo joint statements as a positive step towards resuming the formal talks.
How can the GPH be trusted to comply with core agreements or any other agreement when it willfully refuses to comply with the JASIG, an agreement that merely guarantees the safety and immunity of individuals (including those of the Manila government) involved in the peace negotiations? How can the GRP inspire confidence when it considers compliance with obligations under signed agreements as “precondition”?
The NDFP will not agree to sit across the negotiating table with the GPH in any formal talks or meetings while the GPH refuses to comply with signed agreements and holds hostage the JASIG-protected individuals. The NDFP will refuse to negotiate under duress and until the GPH and its negotiators show sincerity and honor their word by complying with obligations under the JASIG and the Oslo joint statements of January and February 2011 by releasing all or most of the JASIG-protected individuals.
It has become abundantly clear that the GPH/GRP is out to scuttle the peace negotiations, blame the NDFP for scuttling these and justify the US-designed Oplan Bayanihan, a brutal military campaign of suppression thinly masked as a peace and development plan.