a fortnightly publication of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Close this search box.

Detained NDFP consultants welcome possible revival of peace talks

Two peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) who are detained in the Metro Manila District  Jail – Annex 4, Camp Bagong Diwa, Upper Bicutan, Taguig City, Philippines, welcomed the possibility of resuming the stalled peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP.   

The interview, conducted by Bulatlat.com, sought the opinions of political prisoners and NDFP peace consultants Vicente Ladlad and Adelberto Silva. 

Both Ladlad and Silva welcomed the report that the stalled peace negotiations were going to be revived, and expressed hopes that as peace consultants, they would be able to join the talks.

“It is good that they, the GRP, decided to elevate peace talks to the national level once again and reverse former president Rodrigo Duterte’s policy of so-called localized peace talks”,  Ladlad  said.

Since the termination of peace negotiations by former president Duterte in 2017, the GRP stand on peace talks has been not to negotiate on the national level, but only to hold localized peace talks. 

To clarify this, Ladlad explained that no local groups of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army (NPA), nor the NDFP, is authorized to hold localize peace talks with members of the GRP.  He explained that it is only the NDFP Peace Negotiating Panel that is authorized to negotiate with the Manila government.

Ladlad, who has been a peace consultant of the NDFP Negotiating Panel for many years noted that Duterte was of the mistaken belief that the GRP shall have eliminated the NPA by the end of his term in June 2022.

“Apparently, they realized that under Marcos Jr, the CPP, NPA and NDFP is still a viable force.  That is why they are going back to negotiating with the NDFP”, Ladlad added.

He also remarked that one of the hurdles in efforts to revive peace talks is the open opposition to the talks of Vice President Sara Duterte.  She had earlier remarked that efforts to revive the negotiations was “an agreement with the devil”.

Such a remark, commented Ladlad, was “very hostile and belligerent to her president, Marcos, Jr.”

Adelberto Silva noted that another hurdle to the success of the peace negotiations is the insistence of officials of the Marcos Jr. cabinet to do away with previously signed agreements such as The Hague Joint Declaration and the Joint Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

“The Hague Joint Declaration should remain as the framework of the negotiations as it had already been signed and reaffirmed by both parties numerous times” Silva remarked.

“The GRP must also guarantee the safety of the consultants the NDFP wishes to join in the revived peace talks under the JASIG” he said.

Both consultants said that the negotiations are not just about ending the armed conflict but addressing its root causes. “Otherwise, that’s just surrender talks”, they said.