By FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Spokesperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
Chairperson, NDFP Human Rights Committee
The negotiating panels of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and National Democratic Front of the Philippines held informal meetings in Oslo from November 27 to 30 upon the hosting of the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) in order to pave the way for the resumption of the formal meetings of the aforesaid panels. The GRP panel was headed by former labor secretary Nieves Confesor and the NDFP panel was headed by Luis Jalandoni.
The NDFP negotiating panel proposed a draft joint statement for the resumption of the formal meeting on the basis of reaffirming and complying with all previously signed agreements between the GRP and NDFP principals and panels. Copy of said draft is attached hereto and published in the NDFP website .
But the GRP negotiating panel blocked the resumption of the formal meetings of the negotiating panels by preconditioning it with a prolonged ceasefire. This precondition is calculated by the GRP to convert the peace negotiations into a negotiations of surrender and pacification under the pretext of ceasefire. The GRP seeks to prevent the serious and sustained negotiations on social, economic, political and constitutional reforms as the basis of a just and lasting peace.
The NDFP negotiating panel reminded the GRP negotiating panel of the NDFP-proposed concise agreement for an immediate truce and just peace on the basis of commitment to respond to the needs and aspirations of the Filipino people. Noting that the GRP has never responded to the said NDFP proposal since August 29, 2005, the NDFP panel offered ceasefire for the duration of every formal meeting of the negotiating panels as a goodwill and confidence building measure. This kind of ceasefire is an incentive to substantive meetings by the negotiating panels.
But what the GRP wants is a prolonged ceasefire to serve mere pacification of the people's resistance and to block substantive peace negotiations in violation of The Hague Joint Declaration. This solemn declaration requires that no side shall impose on the other any precondition which negates the character and purpose of peace negotiations. The stratagem of prolonged ceasefire has been cooked up by the cabinet cluster on national security, the national security adviser and the office of presidential adviser on the peace process to prevent the discussion of social, economic, political and constitutional problems and solutions, and to complement the brutal military campaign of human rights violations under Oplan Bantay Laya.
In her opening statement, Confessor arrogantly declared that the GRP needs the collaboration of the NDFP only for the purpose of helping the GRP succeeed in its pseudo-development efforts and phoney amnesty and rehabilitation campaign. She further stated that the validity of all existing and prospective agreements between the GRP and NDFP is doubtful despite all careful efforts of the two panels to avoid the violation of the constitutions of the GRP and the people's democratic government. She also declared that the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees can offer no protection to persons duly-authorized by the NDFP.
Prior to the informal meeting of the GRP and NDFP panels in Oslo, General Ermita publicly taunted the NDFP by boasting that it is not in any position to make any demand regarding compliance of the GRP with agreements made with the NDFP or respect for the rights of NDFP panelists, consultants and staffers under the JASIG. On his part, General Esperon demanded that the GRP should be informed of the real identities of revolutionaries and that the weapons of the people's army should be registered immediately.
The Arroyo regime is not at all interested in peace negotiations. All illusions must be cast away. The regime is solely interested in destroying or debilitating the revolutionary movement so that the regime’s puppetry, corruption, mendacity and brutality can run rampant unopposed by any effective force of the oppressed and exploited people. It is highly unlikely that there would ever be formal meetings of the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels while Arroyo is in power.
It is most likely that the Arroyo regime will continue to escalate its brutal campaigns of suppression against the people and the revolutionary forces. It is therefore necessary and just for the people and the revolutionary forces to defend themselves and intensify their resistance. They must take advantage of the worsening crisis conditions to further isolate and destroy the power of the counter-revolutionary forces and fight for national liberation and democracy.