The NDFP is for continuity of Peace Negotiations

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) is for the continuity of peace negotiations. This must be stressed. What the NDFP has postponed is only the formal talks of the negotiating panels. The NDFP announced this postponement in August 2004 to give time to the GRP to comply with obligations arising from agreements reached in the peace negotiations, especially those in the Oslo Joint Statement of February 14, 2004 and the Second Oslo Joint Statement of April 3, 2004.

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) is for the continuity of peace negotiations. This must be stressed. What the NDFP has postponed is only the formal talks of the negotiating panels. The NDFP announced this postponement in August 2004 to give time to the GRP to comply with obligations arising from agreements reached in the peace negotiations, especially those in the Oslo Joint Statement of February 14, 2004 and the Second Oslo Joint Statement of April 3, 2004.

The Arroyo regime has been misrepresenting the postponement of the formal talks between the negotiating panels as the NDFP’s withdrawal from the peace negotiations and is using this misrepresentation to suspend effectivity of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees and to threaten with arrest NDFP personnel and NDFP nominated consultants, staff and volunteers vested with safety and immunity guarantees.

As far back as mid-2004, long before the Arroyo regime’s political crisis for survival, the NDFP had called on the regime to comply with its obligations, especially that of undertaking effective measures regarding the “terrorist” listing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army (NPA) and the NDFP Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison. Other obligations include the release of political prisoners and the indemnification of victims of human rights violations under the Marcos regime.

The NDFP objected to the “terrorist” tagging as an attempt to pressure the NDFP into signing the “Final Peace Agreement (FPA)”, or agreeing to a “prolonged ceasefire” which in fact means pacification. The FPA violates the principles established in The Hague Joint Declaration as well as the sequence of negotiating the items on the agenda for the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and thus avoids negotiating basic economic, social and political reforms needed to address the roots of the armed conflict. The NDFP rejected the FPA because it is a document of capitulation one-sidedly formulated by the GRP in violation of the Hague Joint Declaration and other agreements.

Current grave problems of survival have aggravated the Arroyo regime’s longrunning inability to comply with its obligations since June 2004. However, if the GRP somehow manages to comply with its obligations in the agreements and answer satisfactorily the prejudicial questions raised by the NDFP, there is no reason why formal talks between the negotiating panels cannot be held. There is also no reason why communications and some work cannot be done right away to pave the way for dealing with issues prior to the resumption of formal talks.

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