Message to peace advocates upon launching of the book on the GRP-NDFP Peace Negotiations

NDFP Chief Political Consultant

Warmest greetings of solidarity to all the peace advocates who are present! I thank the NDFP-Nominated Section of the Joint Monitoring Committee and its Secretariat for inviting me to give this message and answer questions in an open forum with peace advocates and members of the press.

NDFP Chief Political Consultant

Warmest greetings of solidarity to all the peace advocates who are present! I thank the NDFP-Nominated Section of the Joint Monitoring Committee and its Secretariat for inviting me to give this message and answer questions in an open forum with peace advocates and members of the press.

The book that is launched on this occasion is of high significance to the people. It contains all the major agreements between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and related documents since 1992 when The Hague Joint Declaration was signed and approved as the framework agreement for the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

This framework agreement sets forth as guide to the peace negotiations the mutually acceptable principles of national sovereignty, democracy and social justice. It further stipulates that no precondition shall be made to negate the inherent character and purpose of the peace negotiations. The objective is to address the roots of the armed conflict and make agreements on social, economic and political reforms to lay the basis for a just and lasting peace.

The substantive agenda is as follows:

  1. respect for human rights and international humanitarian law;
  2. social and economic reforms;
  3. political and constitutional reforms; and
  4. end of hostilities and disposition of forces.

The GRP-NDFP peace negotiations have resulted in seventeen agreements on substantive and procedural issues. So far, the most important substantive agreement is the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). This disposes of the first item in the 4-point substantive agenda.

The peace negotiations have been productive. But they bog down whenever the GRP runs counter to The Hague Joint Declaration and insists on the capitulation of the NDFP in one form or another. Whenever its attempt to get the capitulation of the NDFP is frustrated, it has acted to terminate, suspend or indefinitely recess the peace negotiations. Thus, so little time has been devoted to actual peace negotiations despite the passage of so many years.

Certain forces such as the US imperialists, the militarists among the bureaucrats and military and police officials and the clerico-fascists, think that the peace negotiations is merely a bait for tricking the NDFP towards capitulation. They cannot reconcile themselves with the fact that the revolutionary forces and the people are determined to fight and negotiate for national liberation and democracy as the stable basis for a just peace.

The Arroyo regime has chosen the path of state terrorism and fascism and has blocked the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. It has calculated that it can keep its bureaucratic loot and perpetuate itself in power by taking a ride on the Bush-instigated global war of terror. It has collaborated with the US in acts of military intervention in the Philippines and wars of aggression abroad. It has run amok with acts of state terrorism under Oplan Bantay Laya.

With the approval and encouragement of Gloria M. Arroyo (GMA), the Cabinet Oversight Committee on Internal Security is directing the military and police campaigns of terror against the peasant masses and national minorities in suspected guerrilla fronts and the campaign of extrajudicial killings and forced disappearance against unarmed legal activists, including leaders of party list groups, trade unions, peasant associations and mass organizations of youth and women, priests and pastors, human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and others.

Even as GMA is a fake president, having usurped her position through electoral fraud, she is still the de facto president who can direct the GRP negotiating panel to engage the NDFP negotiating panel in resolving prejudicial questions raised by the NDFP and thereby paving the way for the resumption of formal talks. But GMA is obsessed with seeking the impossible, the destruction of the revolutionary movement of the people, which the fascist Marcos and other reactionary presidents failed to do.

Despite the vile obsession of GMA, the NDFP holds the position that the peace negotiations are still ongoing because the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) has not been properly terminated by the GRP. There is no such term in the JASIG as “suspension” which GMA and General Ermita have wrongly adopted. The JASIG remains binding and effective.

The GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels and the Joint Monitoring Committee under CARHRIHL are still operating with the Norwegian government as the third-party facilitator. They serve as proofs that the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations are still ongoing in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration and the JASIG. While preventing the aforesaid negotiating panels from resuming formal talks, the Arroyo regime prates about “localized peace talks” which it often stages for psywar purposes.

The NDFP continues to offer the acceleration of the peace negotiations and the possibility of a concise agreement for an immediate just peace, provided the GRP agrees with the NDFP to resolve prejudicial questions arising from the treason and treachery of the GRP in asking the US and other governments to place the CPP, NPA and the chief political consultant in the “terrorist” blacklist.

Ever magnanimous and generous and acting in the interest of the people, the NDFP has readily welcomed the public request of the presidential chief of staff for a mutual ceasefire between the armed forces of the GRP and the NDFP in the vicinity of the Mount Bulusan volcano. However, the mutual ceasefire should not be used as a license for US military forces and their Filipino military puppets to swamp the area and take over functions that belong to civil institutions and organizations.

The Arroyo regime has shown so much viciousness by placing the negotiators, the consultants, advisors and staff members of the NDFP Negotiating Panel in the so-called order of battle of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and has fabricated charges against them. All those in the so-called order of battle are threatened with assassination or abduction and torture by the death squads of the regime. The political consultant Sotero Llamas has been recently assassinated by a death squad of the regime. In the last two years, the chief political consultant and the senior legal consultant have been subjected to surveillance and threatened with assassination.

The revolutionary forces and the people are courageously exposing and opposing the depredations of Oplan Bantay Laya and are waging all forms of struggle against the US-directed Arroyo regime. If all the organized forces within the broad united front against the regime do their best, they can still mobilize the millions of people to oust the regime soon enough.

There can be better conditions for the resumption of the formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations if the Arroyo regime is ousted by a broad united front of patriotic and progressive forces and is replaced by a new administration willing to foster national unity in pursuit of national independence and democracy, empowerment of the workers and peasants, land reform and national industrialization, the promotion of a patriotic and progressive culture and an independent foreign policy for development and world peace.