By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) stands firmly for the resumption of formal peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on the basis of The Hague Joint Declaration and the subsequent agreements up to Oslo I and II. The NDFP affirms that these agreements are binding and effective… In order that the formal peace talks between the GRP and the NDFP can be resumed, the GRP must comply with the agreements it has signed with the NDFP and must do away with the impediments to the peace negotiations that it has put up in violation of said agreements.
By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) stands firmly for the resumption of formal peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on the basis of The Hague Joint Declaration and the subsequent agreements up to Oslo I and II. The NDFP affirms that these agreements are binding and effective.
The NDFP consistently stands for addressing the roots of the armed conflict through fundamental economic, social, political and constitutional reforms.
In order that the formal peace talks between the GRP and the NDFP can be resumed, the GRP must comply with the agreements it has signed with the NDFP and must do away with the impediments to the peace negotiations that it has put up in violation of said agreements. The demand to do away with these impediments is not the setting of a precondition to the resumption of formal talks. It is the obligation of the GRP to comply with the agreements it has signed with the NDFP. Otherwise, the GRP continues to prevent the resumption of the formal talks.
The Arroyo regime has adopted and implemented a series of policy measures in order to sabotage and stop the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and give free rein to state terrorism and the most brutal campaigns of military and police suppression against the revolutionary forces and the people. Allow us to cite the following:
- In demanding as precondition to the resumption of formal talks the capitulation of the NDFP under the guise of indefinite ceasefire, the Arroyo regime flagrantly violates The Hague Joint Declaration which clearly requires that the peace negotiations address the roots of the armed conflict with social, economic, political and constitutional reforms and that no precondition whatsoever shall be imposed by one side on the other that would violate the inherent character and purpose of peace negotiations. Such precondition also violates the agreement on the sequence of negotiations on the four items in the substantive agenda. The fourth and last item in the agenda is the end of hostilities and disposition of forces.
- Since the last quarter of 2001, the Arroyo regime has welcomed US military intervention in the Philippines. It agreed to the entry of US military forces. US troops are now permanently stationed in Mindanao and other areas in the Philippines. They carry out a continuing series of joint war exercises and are participating in military operations. Also in 2001, the Arroyo regime lobbied the US government to start the terrorist blacklisting of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army (NPA) and Prof. Jose Maria Sison, the Chief Political Consultant of the NDFP Negotiating Panel. In August 2002 the CPP, NPA and Prof. Sison were blacklisted by the US and other governments.
- Assured of US military support, the Arroyo regime proceeded to undertake Oplan Bantay Laya. Since its launching, more than a million people in the countryside and in the urban poor areas have been forced out of their homes and land by military and police campaigns of suppression in order to make way for mining enterprises, plantations and other pseudo-development projects. More than a thousand unarmed legal activists have been murdered, abducted and tortured in secret detention places. These gross violations of human rights continue to date.
- As a feature of Oplan Bantay Laya, the Arroyo regime created the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) headed by the National Security Adviser, which is responsible for the “legal offensives” against its perceived enemies and strong critics. Malicious and trumped up charges of rebellion, murder, kidnapping with murder, inciting to sedition and obstruction of justice were filed against progressive party-list members of Congress and leaders of militant organizations. IALAG also worked to cover-up the human rights abuses and other serious crimes, and protect and defend military personnel from complaints and court cases filed against them by the victims and their families. The political persecution of the leaders of militant organizations and party-list groups continue despite recommendation of the UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions that the IALAG be abolished.
- In a brazen attack on the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, the Arroyo regime has illegally “suspended” the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and used the list of holders of documents of identification as NDFP panelists, consultants and staffers as an order of battle list for false criminal charges and punitive actions. Among the NDFP Consultants arrested and detained are Elizabeth Principe and Angie Ipong.
- NDFP Political Consultant Sotero Llamas was murdered on May 29, 2006 in Tabaco, Albay. The following NDFP consultants, their immediate family and associates, and NDFP staffers have been forcibly abducted and probably tortured and murdered: Philip Limjoco on May 8, 2006 in Dau, Pampanga; Rogelio Calubad and his son Gabriel on June 17, 2006 in Calauag, Quezon; Leopoldo Ancheta on June 24, 2006 in Guiguinto, Bulacan; Prudencio Calubid his wife Celina Palma and companions Gloria Soco and Ariel Beloy, on June 26, 2006 near Sipocot, Camarines Sur; Federico and Nelly Intise on October 26, 2006 in General Santos City in Mindanao; Cesar Batralo on December 21, 2006 in San Pablo City, Laguna and Leo Velasco on February 19, 2007 in Cagayan de Oro City, among others.
- NDFP Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison and NDFP Negotiating Panel Chairperson Luis Jalandoni and Panel Members Julieta de Lima – Sison and Fidel V. Agcaoili have been subjected to the false charge of rebellion. Although the Supreme Court has dismissed the omnibus charge of rebellion, Prof. Sison, Jalandoni and de Lima continue to be persecuted with false charges of murder in Leyte and various provinces. Also persecuted with false charges of murder in Leyte and various provinces are: NDFP Political Consultant Vicente Ladlad and members of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms Rafael Baylosis and Randall Echanis. Last January 28, Echanis was arrested and is still detained in the provincial jail in Palo, Leyte.
- The Anti-Terrorism Law, euphemistically called the Human Security Act, has been signed into law. This gives a vague and overly broad definition of terrorism and is a sweeping attack on the human rights of the people, the broad range of opposition and suspected revolutionaries. It gives the final death blow to the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, unless or until it is declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
- The Arroyo regime has extended its repressive rule to the patriotic and progressive Filipinos abroad by duping the Dutch government into recycling a false and politically motivated charge of murder against the NDFP Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison. This charge has been already waste-basketed by the Philippine Supreme Court. But it has been used as pretext to arrest Prof. Sison and raid the office and homes of the panelists, consultants and staffers of the NDFP Negotiating Panel in The Netherlands for the purpose of fishing expedition.
- The Arroyo regime is engaged in deception and showing contempt for the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations by faking localized peace negotiations and offering money for so-called amnesty and rehabilitation. These are a vain attempt to deceive the people and split the revolutionary movement. They are also intended to line the pockets of the bureaucrats and the military and police officers who fabricate lists of surrenderees and beneficiaries of so-called amnesty and rehabilitation.
- In gross violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the Arroyo regime has misappropriated for electioneering purposes in 2004 the money recovered from the Marcos loot and intended for land reform and indemnification of the victims of human rights violations under the Marcos regime. For this alone, there is no basis for the NDFP to trust the Arroyo regime in peace negotiations.
- The Arroyo regime has reneged on its pledge in 2001 and 2004 to release political prisoners and undertake other goodwill measures. Instead, it has engaged in gross and systematic human rights violations.
- The Arroyo regime has completely failed to comply with its obligation in the Oslo Statements I and II to stand with the NDFP in asserting the national sovereignty of the Filipino people and the territorial integrity of the Philippines against the invasive presumptions of terrorist blacklisting by the US and other foreign governments.
The foregoing impediments should be done away with in order to clear the way for the resumption of formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. Doing away with said impediments is not a precondition but is a matter of compliance with existing agreements of the GRP and NDFP.