We, the Negotiating Panels of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), successfully held the second round of talks from 6 to 9 October 2016 in Oslo, Norway, facilitated by the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG).
At the opening ceremonies, RNG Special Envoy to the Philippines Peace Process, Ambassador Elizabeth Slattum, welcomed the GRP and NDFP delegations. She reiterated the continuing commitment of the RNG to support the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
Secretary Jesus G. Dureza, GRP Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP) reiterated the commitment of the two Parties in the peace negotiations toward resolving the armed conflict.
NDFP Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison thanked the RNG for its caring and efficient facilitation. He stated that the amnesty and release of all political prisoners are a matter of justice and compliance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and will be a big incentive to the forging of a more stable ceasefire as well as to the acceleration of the peace process.
GRP Panel Chairperson Silvestre Bello III congratulated Fidel Agcaoili for being the newly-designated Chairperson of the NDFP Negotiating Panel and reiterated the determination of the Duterte administration to bring the peace negotiations to a successful conclusion as soon as possible. He also extended his deepest appreciation to former NDFP Negotiating Panel Chairperson Luis G. Jalandoni for his invaluable contribution to the sustained conduct of the peace talks through the years.
NDFP Panel Chairperson Fidel V. Agcaoili thanked the GRP Panel Chairperson for his congratulations. He narrated the need to expeditiously pursue the work for the grant of amnesty and the release of prisoners (as listed by the NDFP).
NDFP Panel Chairperson Agcaoili announced the appointments of Mr. Jalandoni as NDFP Senior Adviser and Benito E. Tiamzon as new member of the NDFP Panel.
The Chairpersons of the GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels, Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III and Fidel V. Agcaoili, introduced their respective Panel Members:
On the side of the GRP: Panel Chairperson, Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III and Panel members, Hernani A. Braganza, Atty. Rene V. Sarmiento, Atty. Angela L. Trinidad, and Atty . Antonio B. Arellano.
On the side of the NDFP: Panel Chairperson Fidel V. Agcaoili and Panel Members Julieta S. de Lima, Coni K. Ledesma, Asterio B. Palima and Benito E. Tiamzon.
Both sides also brought along the heads and members of their respective Reciprocal Working Committee-Socio and Economic Reforms (RWCs-SER), Reciprocal Working Groups-Political and Constitutional Reforms (RWGs-PCR), Reciprocal Working Groups-End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces (RWGs-EHDF), Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) under the CARHRIHL, respective ceasefire committees, advisers, consultants, cooperators, experts, resource persons, technical personnel and observers.
The Parties noted the presence of the six-person delegation from the House of Representatives headed by Hon. Ruby M. Sahali as well as Tarlac Gov. Susan Yap. The other members of the House delegation are: Deputy Speaker Bai Sandra S.A. Sema, Hon. Leopoldo N. Bataoil, Hon. Nancy A. Catamco, Hon. Jesus N. Sacdalan, and Hon. Carlos Isagani Zarate.
The two Panels agreed on the following:
The Parties reviewed the Joint Oslo Statements dated June 15 and August 26, 2016 on the issue of the immediate release of detained prisoners listed by the NDFP, giving premium on those prisoners who will be released based on humanitarian grounds. They also reviewed the circumstances and status of JASIG-protected NDFP consultants.
They took good note of the positive steps so far taken, including the finalization of the Revised Guidelines on the Presidential Committee on Bail, Recognizance and Pardon, and agreed to accelerate the process consistent with the Parties’ common resolve.
They also agreed that the presidential clemency for and release of three remaining JASIG-protected consultants, Eduardo Sarmiento, Emeterio Antalan and Leopoldo Caloza, shall be expedited. The GRP shall release the prisoners who are listed by the NDFP in accordance with the CARHRIHL pending the approval of the proposed amnesty for their benefit.
The GRP Panel affirms its commitment to work for the release of these prisoners in expeditious and acceptable modes.
2. Amnesty Proclamation
The Panels reviewed the circumstances and status of the proposed amnesty proclamation since the first round of talks on August 27, 2016.
The GRP Panel said that the amnesty proclamation has already been drafted and endorsed to the Office of the President. The NDFP Panel requested a copy of the said proclamation. The GRP Panel assured the NDFP that it shall have a copy in due time.
Meetings of RWCs, RWGs, JMC and respective ceasefire committees
Meeting of RWCs, RWGs, JMC and respective ceasefire committees.
The RWCs-SER discussed their respective proposed drafts on the framework and outline of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER).
After several sessions, the RWCs-SER agreed on a common CASER framework and outline which both parties have initialed (Annex A).
The RWCs-SER agreed to conduct their respective consultations, exchange drafts, and schedule their bilateral meetings to correspond to the formal meetings of the Negotiating Panels.
The RWCs-PCR agreed on a common outline (Annex B). This shall be fleshed out by each side in the period of November to December 2016 in the Philippines. The two sides shall exchange the enfleshed drafts of the common outline in the last week of January 2017 by email. They shall discuss the drafts in order to reconcile them on the date and venue decided by the Panels.
The RWGs-EHDF agreed on the topic outline of the NDFP RWG-EHDF as the common outline (Annex C).
The RWGs-EHDF will continue to hold unilateral meetings in order to develop their respective outlines and submit the same to their respective Panels. In the meantime, the RWGs-EHDF shall study and follow closely the progress of the work of the RWCs-SER and RWGs-PCR.
The RWGs-EHDF have agreed to exchange drafts of their respective enfleshed common draft outlines upon completion by the RWCs on SER of the draft CASER and after the RWCs on PCR have substantially moved forward in the drafting of a CAPCR.
d. Joint Monitoring Committee
The JMC discussed and agreed to undertake joint activities including the distribution of CARHRIHL in several local languages, brochures, poster-making contest and calendar.
The JMC likewise agreed to develop the monitoring system and promote human rights by conducting fora and trainings which will be planned by the Joint Secretariats.
The JMC will recommend the inclusion of the study of human rights and international humanitarian law in the curriculum of schools.
They had extended discussions and clarifications on documentation and investigation.
The Joint Secretariat shall finalize the coverage of the Joint Education and Capacity Building.
The JMC shall correspondingly amend the budget to cover the various joint activities and submit it to the RNG.
The JMC discussed the Draft Common Supplemental Guidelines initialed in April 2011 including further amendments by the NDFP MC to which the GRP MC asked for more time to study and comment.
The JMC discussed its budget and agreed that the coverage is for fifteen months, beginning October 2016 to December 2017.
e. Respective ceasefire committees
The Parties renewed their commitment to work through their respective ceasefire committees to reconcile and develop their separate unilateral ceasefire orders into a single unified bilateral document within 60 days from August 26, 2016.
The Parties engaged in preliminary discussions on different drafts for a potential bilateral ceasefire, took note of concerns on issues related thereto, and relayed alleged incidents vis-a-vis their separate unilateral ceasefire orders.
The Parties stressed that they are exerting best efforts to develop a single unified document of a bilateral ceasefire agreement within a desired period.
The Parties have likewise reaffirmed their declarations of their respective unilateral indefinite ceasefires.
3. Next Meeting
The Panels agreed to meet again on the third week of January 2017 in a foreign neutral venue. They have instructed their respective RWCs and RWGs to synchronize their schedules.
Expression of Gratitude to RNG
Both Panels reiterated their appreciation and gratitude to the Royal Norwegian Government for its steadfast support to the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and acknowledged the facilitation of Special Envoy to the Philippine Peace Process Elisabeth Slattum and her team.
Signed in Oslo, Norway on 09 October 2016
Sec. Silvestre H. Bello III
Chairperson of the GRP Panel
Hernani A. Braganza
Member, GRP Panel
Rene V. Sarmiento
Member, GRP Panel
Angela L. Trinidad
Member, GRP Panel
Antonio B. Arellano
Member, GRP Panel
Fidel V. Agcaoili
Chairperson of the NDFP Panel
Julieta S. de Lima
Member, NDFP Panel
Coni K. Ledesma
Member, NDFP Panel
Asterio B. Palima
Member, NDFP Panel
Benito E. Tiamzon
Member, NDFP Panel
Sec. Jesus G. Dureza
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Mayor Edgardo D. Pamintuan
Adviser, GRP Panel
Prof. Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
Luis G. Jalandoni
Senior Adviser, NDFP Panel
Third Party Facilitator
For the Royal Norwegian Government
The GRP delegation was headed by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus G. Dureza with the following members: OPAPP Assistant Secretary Dickson Hermoso; GRP Negotiating Panel Chairperson Silvestre H. Bello III and Panel members Hernani A. Braganza, Atty. Rene V. Sarmiento, Atty. Angela L. Trinidad, and Atty. Antonio B. Arellano; Panel Advisers Mayor Edgardo D. Pamintuan and CHED Commissioner Prospero De Vera; GRP Monitoring Committee Chair Atty. Efren C. Moncupa and member Col Facundo Palafox; RWC-SER Head Roberto M. Ador and member Atty. Ria Lano; RWG PCR Head Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria with member Dean Julio Teehankee; RWG-EH/DF Head DND Assistant Secretary Teodoro Cirilo Torralba III and member Atty. Franklin Quijano; Committee-Ceasefire Head Prof. Francisco J. Lara, Jr. and members Atty, Marie Dinah Tolentino-Fuentes, Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip, Col. Wilmer Panabang and Atty. Adel Abas; WG-JASIG/Releases Head Atty. Vincent Paul L. Montejo; Panel Technical Committee Head Danilo L. Encinas and members Col. Francisco Ariel A. Felicidario III, Police Chief Supt. Agrimero A. Cruz Jr.; WG Communications Head Patricia Melizza Ruivivar and members Ruben Manahan, Edwin G. Espejo and Joy Alcantara; Panel Secretariat Head Director Maria Carla Munsayac-Villarta and staff support team members Oscar Bathan, Fe Oaing, Celin Mendoza, Rosalyn Lachica, Edith Wayas, Jenivive Cruz and Rhoda Espino; and Executive/Technical Assistants Dr. Jesus Cruz, Leonardo Kirk Galanza, Jeliza Farrah D. Uy, Oibone Enobio, and Lean Braganza.
The NDFP Delegation was composed of Panel Chairperson Fidel V. Agcaoili and Panel Members Julieta S. de Lima-Sison, Coni K. Ledesma, Asterio B. Palima, Benito E. Tiamzon; NDFP Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison; Senior Adviser Luis G. Jalandoni; Political Consultants Rey Claro Casambre, Danilo Borjal; Legal Consultants Edre U. Olalia, Rachel Pastores, Carlos Montemayor Jr., Criselda Azarcon Heredia, Edgar Carmona; Legal Resource Persons Marie Francesca Yuvienco, Rom-Voltaire Quizon, Pamela Felizarta, Rolando Rico Olalia, Fatima Irene Purisima; RWC-SER Members Alan Jazmines Jr., Randall Echanis, Adelberto Silva; RWC-SER Consultants Gabriel Kennedy Bangibang, Ruben Saluta, Servellano Jaime Soledad, Ma. Loida Magpatoc, Renato Baleros Sr.; RWC-SER Resource Person Vivian de Lima; RWC-SER Secretariat Members Rita Sadorra, Pio Verzola Jr., Lualhati Roque; RWG-PCR Members Rafael Baylosis, Renante Gamara, Alfredo Mapano, Ernesto Lorenzo; RWG-PCR Consultant Felix Randy Malayao Jr.; RWG-PCR Cooperator Carol P. Araullo; RWG-PCR Resource Person Francisco Domagoso; RWG-EHDF Chairperson Wilma Austria Tiamzon; RWG-EHDF Members Pedro Codaste, Porferio Tuna Jr.; RWG-EHDF Consultants Tirso Alcantara, Ariel Arbitrario, Edie Genelza; JMC Member Concha Araneta-Bocala; JMC Staff Levie Ebio; Independent Observer Rev. Rex Reyes Jr.; Secretariat Head Marissa P. Dumanjug-Palo and Staff Members Alexander Birondo, Winona Birondo, Rosario Agcaoili (staff of Fidel V. Agcaoili).