By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
The resumption of peace talks between the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels is needed precisely to deal with substantive issues and complaints. In the same round of formal talks, as well as in preceding consultations, the panels can present conflicting positions and subsequently seek to solve the problems on mutually acceptable grounds.
- There is already a substantial consensus between the panels on the general principles, on agrarian reform and rural development and national industrialization and economic development, which are the most important parts of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms.
- There is already a draft amnesty proclamation to release all the political prisoners listed by the NDFP in compliance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
- There is already a draft of the agreement on coordinated unilateral ceasefires, which is under the watch of a joint national ceasefire committee. This draft agreement is in effect the start of a bilateral ceasefire agreement. It is a significant step towards the Comprehensive Agreement on the End of Hostilities an d Disposition of Forces.
When the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels meet, they can be confident of achieving substantial success. Without a formal meeting of the panels, there can only be an acrimonious public exchange of complaints and demands, which appear or sound like the preconditions prohibited by The Hague Joint Declaration.
This framework agreement requires that no side shall impose on the other side preconditions that negate the character and purpose of peace negotiations. The conflicting parties become negotiating parties precisely to thresh out serious differences and complaints and seek the solutions to achieve a just and lasting peace.
As a matter of course, the two panels shall reaffirm all the existing agreements by way of ending the previous termination of the peace negotiations. It logically follows that the two panels shall cooperate in doing away with the obstacles and hindrances to the agreements and to the entire peace process. ###