NDFP, GRP peace panels hold preliminary informal meetings in Hong Kong

NDFP Negotiating Panel

Preliminary informal meetings on the peace talks were held on December 1 and 2 in Hong Kong between Atty. Alexander Padilla, Chairperson of the Negotiating Panel of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and Mr. Luis Jalandoni, Chairperson of the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Also in the meeting were Atty. Pablito Sanidad, a member of the GRP peace panel, Ms. Coni Ledesma, a member of the NDFP peace panel and Atty. Rachel Pastores, legal consultant to the peace process.

Jalandoni described the meeting as fruitful, meaningful and cordial. During the meeting, Padilla and Jalandoni both expressed willingness to resume the formal peace talks. The formal peace talks are tentatively set on February 19 to 25, 2011 in Oslo, Norway. They also agreed to have preliminary talks tentatively set on January 14 to 18, 2011 also in Oslo. The schedules for the formal talks will be confirmed after consultation with the other Panel members of both sides. The tentative dates of the meeting and formal talks will be presented to the Royal Norwegian Government, the Third Party Facilitator of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations through Ambassador Ture Lundh.

Both Padilla and Jalandoni also agreed to highly recommend to their respective national leaderships the unilateral declaration of a reciprocal and concurrent ceasefire within the period of 00:01 hours of 16 December 2010 up to 23:59 hours of 3 January 2011 in observance of the yuletide season and the New Year.

During the meeting, Atty. Padilla also gave Mr. Jalandoni a copy of the Order lifting the Hold Departure Order (HDO) dated June 29, 1992 against Mr. Luis Jalandoni. The Order Lifting the HDO was issued by Chief State Counsel Ricardo Paras III on November 30, 2010.

Atty. Padilla also handed to Mr. Luis Jalandoni his letter informing Mr. Jalandoni that the JASIG remains effective since the GRP lifted its suspension on July 17, 2009. Atty. Padilla further gave assurance to Mr. Jalandoni that he could safely come to and leave the Philippines for a private family visit, citing the statement of President Aquino.

Mr. Jalandoni also expressed that the release of the Morong 43 health workers and other political prisoners and NDFP consultants, like 65 year old Angelina Ipong, and the withdrawal of false charges against the NDFP panelists and consultants (in compliance with the JASIG) are goodwill and confidence building measures for the resumption of the peace talks.