The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) today reminded the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) on the release of all political prisoners as “compliance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).”
The NDFP statement was issued three days before the resumption of the second round of peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway from October 6-10, 2016. Relatedly, the 60-day time period (August 27 to October 27) to reach an interim bilateral ceasefire nears. The crafting of an interim bilateral ceasefire was agreed upon by both parties earlier — during the first round of peace negotiations last August.
“The amnesty and release of all political prisoners is an act of righting the violations of the CARHRIHL and the Hernandez political offense doctrine,” says NDFP chief political consultant Jose Ma. Sison.
“The release of all political prisoners would also serve as a very big incentive for a stable kind of ceasefire,” Sison said noting that during the discussions between NDFP panel member Fidel Agcaoili and President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, the latter commits that “the most expeditious way to release political prisoners is through an amnesty proclamation.”
In the August 26, 2016 Joint Statement, the Parties agreed that “the GRP Panel will immediately recommend to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte the issuance of an Amnesty Proclamation, subject to concurrence of Congress, for the release of prisoners who are listed by the NDFP and who have been arrested, imprisoned, charged, and/or convicted for alleged acts or omissions within the ambit of the Revised Penal Code or special laws in connection with alleged crimes in pursuit of one’s political beliefs.”
“The Parties will discuss the content and language of the Amnesty Proclamation,” the Joint Statement stated.
For his part, NDFP consultant Alan Jazmines reiterated that “a comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms (CASER) could further pave the way for a bilateral ceasefire.”
“However, so far the political body language of the GRP Panel, the much delayed implementation of the agreement for the release of all political prisoners, and the lack of assurance that such could be able to be worked out soonest and without hitches indicate that the GRP’s interest is focused on a bilateral ceasefire,” says Jazmines, vice-chair of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms.
Last month, the NDFP exchanged with the GRP a proposed “framework and outline” for the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, the second substantive agenda of the peace negotiations according to the framework agreement set by The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992.
According to the NDFP proposal, the main CASER objectives are: a) carry out agrarian reform and national industrialization; b) advance the rights of exploited, oppressed, discriminated and disadvantaged sectors of society; c) uphold, protect, defend and promote economic sovereignty; and d) conserve the national patrimony and protect the environment. #
NDFP International Office