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NDFP Negotiating Panel deplores Gingoog incident, expresses sympathy for Mayor Guingona and family

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, Negotiating Panel
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

We, the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and its consultants, deplore the incident in which a unit of New People’s Army reportedly fired back at the security escorts of Gingoog City Mayor Ruth de Lara Guingona, resulting in serious injuries to her and the death of two of her armed escorts.

We express sympathy for Mayor Guingona and her entire family, wish her the quickest possible recovery from her wounds and shock, and condolences to the families of the two killed escorts who should have shared with her the assurances of safety accorded to the Guingona family by the revolutionary movement of the people.

The NDFP and all the revolutionary forces that it represents, including the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA), hold the Guingona family in the highest regard because of its steadfast stand for national independence and democracy during the struggle against the US-supported Marcos fascist dictatorship and thereafter against the anti-national and anti-democratic policies and acts of the successors of Marcos.

We of the NDFP know the Guingonas as persons of high moral character and as principled patriotic and progressive political leaders. Some of us in the Panel and among the consultants personally know the mayor and her husband former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, Jr.

We thank him for speaking as a statesman, rising above the pain of his wife and family, expressing his continuing respect for the NDFP and calling for the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations to move forward. 

Panelist Fidel Agcaoili knows the Guingonas very well since his experience with the former Vice President as fellow political prisoner and their work in SELDA for the benefit of all former political prisoners and other victims of human rights violations under the Marcos fascist regime. The Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison is ever grateful to the former Vice President for defending him against the false charge of terrorism during the rule of Gloria M. Arroyo.

While there is yet no final peace agreement between the GPH and the NDFP, the revolutionary movement continues to wield political authority in the countryside, with the NPA enforcing the movement’s policies, such as those governing the conduct of campaigns during reactionary elections. In so doing, the NPA is always duty-bound to adhere to its own Basic Rules of Discipline, to the provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), and other instruments and norms of international humanitarian law, especially on the protection of civilians and hors de combat.

Thus, every NPA command and unit must strictly follow the NPA’s policies, rules and procedures for ensuring that non-combatants and other non-hostile persons are not harmed by military action.

The NPA Regional Command’s admission of responsibility, issuance of a public apology and expression of sympathy and condolences to Mayor Guingona and her family, to the families of her slain and wounded companions, leads to further investigating the incident, determining accountability and identifying measures to prevent its recurrence. At the same time, the NPA and CPP have reiterated that all political leaders who are not hostile to the NPA are enjoined to arrange with the NPA for their safe travel whenever possible or otherwise to avoid travelling with armed escorts that may be mistaken as hostile in certain places and at certain times especially during dark hours.

We hope that the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations will advance in addressing the roots of the armed conflict, in making agreements on social, economic and political reforms and in laying the basis for a just lasting peace.

On behalf of the NDFP Negotiating Panel and Consultants:

(Sgd) LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, Negotiating Panel
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

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