NDFP panel tells GRP panel that they could “talk while fighting”

National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Negotiating Panel

NDFP Media Office
Press release
February 1, 2017

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) today assured the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) that the recently announced termination of the NDFP’s unilateral ceasefire does not mean the termination of the peace negotiations.

NDFP panel chair Fidel Agcaoili gave this assurance as he formally notified the GRP of the termination of the revolutionary forces’ unilateral ceasefire declared on 28 August 2016.

In a letter addressed to GRP chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III, Agcaoili reminded him that both of them have had the experience of “talking while fighting,” especially during the time of President Fidel Ramos.

Photo: JonB / Altermidya

Agcaoili said they succeeded in forging 12 agreements, including the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, the first item in the substantive agenda, which was drafted and signed under Ramos’ term and later approved in the third month of the Estrada regime.

Another important accord signed during Ramos’ time was The Hague Joint Declaration, which is the framework agreement of the peace negotiations that defines the purpose and objective of the talks, the principles guiding the peace negotiations, the items in the substantive agenda and the modalities of the negotiations. According to The Hague Joint Declaration, the peace talks’ guiding principles are national sovereignty, democracy and social justice, and the items in the substantive agenda are human rights and international humanitarian law, socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and end of hostilities and disposition of forces.

Still another was the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) which assures persons involved in the peace negotiations of exemption from harrasment, surveillance and arrest.

Agcaoili said the termination was prompted mainly by the failure of the GRP to amnesty and release close to 400 political prisoners, and its use of the unilateral ceasefire declaration as a cover for state security forces to engage in hostile actions, provocations or movements, surveillance and other offensive operations in the guise of peace and development, civil-military, peace and order, anti-drug operations and humanitarian missions.###