No reversal of NDFP position on resumption of formal meetings

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

There is no reversal of the NDFP position regarding the resumption of formal meetings of the negotiating panels. The NDFP has always been firm in its position that the prejudicial questions must be satisfactorily addressed by the GRP before the resumption of formal meetings. This point is clear in the August 29, 2005 letter of the NDFP National Executive Committee to the GRP de facto principal Gloria M. Arroyo.

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

There is no reversal of the NDFP position regarding the resumption of formal meetings of the negotiating panels. The NDFP has always been firm in its position that the prejudicial questions must be satisfactorily addressed by the GRP before the resumption of formal meetings. This point is clear in the August 29, 2005 letter of the NDFP National Executive Committee to the GRP de facto principal Gloria M. Arroyo.

The prejudicial questions were discussed at the informal consultations held in Oslo on August 28-30, 2005, but no agreement could be reached because the GRP delegation had no mandate to conclude any agreement. No agreement could also be reached about the GRP proposal for a ceasefire as a goodwill measure in relation to formal meetings of the negotiating panels, although the NDFP representatives advised the GRP representatives to bring up the matter during formal meetings.

The informal consultations were like a mere brainstorming session because the GRP representatives said that they had no mandate to make any agreement. Furthermore, the NDFP had never received beforehand the credentials of the GRP negotiating panel as newly-constituted. The Norwegian government as third party facilitator cannot make any decision that is not agreed upon either by the negotiating panels or their respective principals.

The Arroyo government's claim of "a sudden and mystifying turnaround from the agreements" is totally baseless. No agreement of any kind was concluded during the aforesaid informal consultations. The letter of OPAPP Officer-in-Charge Rene Sarmiento of September 2, 2005 responded adequately to the letter of the NDFP National Executive Committee of August 29, 2005 by withdrawing immediately the GRP's invalid suspension of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees. But it 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 foreign governments.

The GRP remains culpable for violating the principle of national sovereignty in The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 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. It has not complied with its obligations to release political prisoners and indemnify victims of human rights violations under the Marcos dictatorship. These obligations are stipulated, among others, in Oslo Joint Statements of February 14 and April 3, 2004.

Since August 2004, the NDFP has consistently held the position that the GRP must comply with its obligations and address the prejudicial questions raised by the NDFP, before the resumption of formal meetings. There is no reversal from that position. We have stressed this repeatedly to the GRP representatives in the presence of the Norwegian government officials.

As soon as the GRP complies with its obligations and addresses satisfactorily the prejudicial questions, the NDFP is prepared to discuss the agenda, date and venue for the resumption of formal meetings of the negotiating panels and the issue of ceasefire as a goodwill measure.

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