Honor JASIG!

This year marks the 29th year since The Joint Agreement for the Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) was signed on 24 February 1995. It officially took effect upon the approval of Mariano Orosa, former chairperson of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), on 10 April 1995 and of Fidel Ramos, Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) former president on 25 April 1995.

A historical milestone in the peace process, and one of the key documents in the GRP – NDFP peace negotiations, the JASIG’s primary purposes “are to facilitate the peace negotiations, create a favorable atmosphere conducive to free discussion and free movement during the peace negotiations, and avert any incident that may jeopardize the peace negotiations.”

JASIG was designed to help create a conducive environment for peace negotiations by protecting those directly engaged in the negotiations. It guarantees immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution, and interrogation. JASIG provides a safety net vital in enabling both sides to communicate freely without the looming threat of repercussions or violence.

While the NDFP dutifully adheres to the JASIG, the GRP continues to violate it by perpetually subjecting NDFP peace consultants and personnel to surveillance, harassments, enforced disappearances, arrests, detentions and extrajudicial killings.

Since the Duterte government unilaterally terminated the peace negotiations in 2017, there have been 17 unjustly detained, four disappeared and at least 20 murdered NDFP peace consultants.

Among those killed are NDFP consultants for socioeconomic reforms Randy Malayao, who was shot dead in a bus in 2019 and Randall Echanis, who was stabbed to death in 2020. Under the Marcos Jr. regime, NDFP consultants Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria-Tiamzon were captured alive, severely tortured and slain along with eight other members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in 2022.

On November 30, 2022, NDFP consultant on socioeconomic reforms Ericson Acosta was killed by elements of the 94th Infantry Battalion while resting in Barangay Camansi, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental. The 94th IB likewise abducted and murdered NDFP-Negros peace consultant Rogelio Posadas on April 19, 2023. Fascist soldiers also summarily executed NDF-Bohol consultant Manuel “Ka Dodie” Tinio on April 14, 2023. He was shot seven times while driving a motorcycle along the boundary of San Miguel and Ubay in Bohol.

Honoring JASIG is more than just procedural necessity; it bears moral and political significance that reflect each party’s genuine commitment to peace. For the past 29 years, the JASIG document has been crucial in making the peace negotiations possible.  The sincerity of moving towards peace, thus, lies in honoring the JASIG and all other peace negotiations agreements between the GRP and the NDFP. ###