By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
The Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) is a key agreement in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH, formerly designated as GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
In its preamble, the JASIG stipulates that: “The primary purposes of the safety and immunity guarantees hereby adopted are to facilitate the peace negotiations, create a favorable atmosphere conducive to free discussion and free movement during the peace negotiations, and avert any incident that may jeopardize the peace negotiations.”
In other words, the JASIG is meant to test the good faith, sincerity and commitment of both the GRP/GPH and NDFP to relentlessly pursue the peace negotiations to arrive at comprehensive agreements on basic social, economic and political reforms and help pave the way for a just and lasting peace in the country.
The NDFP has dutifully complied with the JASIG by faithfully respecting the safety and immunity guarantees of all those involved (negotiators, consultants, staffers, security and other personnel) in the peace negotiations on the side of the GRP/GPH.
On the other hand, the GRP/GPH has persistently violated the JASIG with the arrests, torture, killing and disappearance of those involved on the NDFP side, from the arrest and killing of Sotero Llamas, the continuing detention of Alan Jazmines and others, and the abduction and disappearance of Leo Velasco, Prudencio Calubid and Rogelio Calubad, among others.
If the GRP/GPH cannot be trusted to comply with the JASIG, how can it be trusted to comply with substantial agreements on social, economic and political reforms? As we have said earlier, palabra de honor or good faith is a key question in any negotiation.