No agreement reached on resumption of formal meetings and ceasefire

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

The informal consultations held in Oslo on August 28-30, 2005 did not result in an agreement to resume formal meetings of the negotiating panels and undertake a joint ceasefire between the NDFP and the GRP. The GRP representatives did not have the mandate to conclude any agreement with the NDFP. Thus, there are several outstanding issues that still have to be resolved, including the GRP’s compliance with its obligations according to Oslo I and II, before there can be a resumption of formal meetings of the GRP and the NDFP panels.

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

The informal consultations held in Oslo on August 28-30, 2005 did not result in an agreement to resume formal meetings of the negotiating panels and undertake a joint ceasefire between the NDFP and the GRP. The GRP representatives did not have the mandate to conclude any agreement with the NDFP. Thus, there are several outstanding issues that still have to be resolved, including the GRP’s compliance with its obligations according to Oslo I and II, before there can be a resumption of formal meetings of the GRP and the NDFP panels.

The September 2, 2005 formal reply of Rene Sarmiento, the officer in charge of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), to the August 29, 2005 letter of the National Executive Committee of the NDFP, declared the immediate withdrawal of the GRP’s invalid suspension of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) but failed to answer satisfactorily the prejudicial questions raised by the NDFP about the “terrorist” listing of the CPP, NPA and the NDFP Chief Political Consultant by the US and other governments.

The GRP remains culpable for violating the principle of national sovereignty in The Hague Joint Declaration by declaring that the US and other foreign governments have the sovereign right to interfere in Philippine affairs and particularly in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. The GRP is reprehensible for allowing foreign governments to violate the safety and immunity guarantees stipulated in the JASIG and the Hernandez political offense doctrine and basic democratic rights enshrined in the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

Before the formal meetings can be resumed, the GRP must order a stop to assassination attempts on Atty. Romeo T. Capulong, Senior Legal Consultant of the NDFP Negotiating Panel and United Nations ad litem Judge, who has frustrated attempts on his life on March 7 and March 31 this year. Threats of assassination issued against Prof. Jose Maria Sison and other NDFP consultants must also be stopped. In this connection, the NDFP also demands a stop to killings of human rights advocates, progressive party list leaders, journalists, lawyers and church people, such as those of Atty. Norman Bocar and UCCP Pastor Raul Domingo who were shot by motorcycle-riding assassins on September 1 and August 20, 2005 respectively.

The NDFP also calls for compliance by the GRP with its obligation to release political prisoners, especially those whose orders of release had already been signed in 2001, including the seven Mamburao farmers.

The prejudicial questions raised by the NDFP must first be answered satisfactorily by the GRP before the place, date and agenda for the resumption of formal meetings of the negotiating panels can be set.

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