Peace negotiations are still on, safety and immunity guarantees remain in effect

NDFP Media Office
Press statement
May 29, 2017

The GRP-NDFP peace negotiations are ongoing despite the fact that the 5th round of formal talks did not take place as scheduled due to the decision of the GRP panel not to participate. All the bilateral agreements that lay down the framework, processes and conditions for the entire peace negotiations, including the JASIG, remain binding, operational and in effect.

The NDFP Negotiating Panel has received assurances from Sec. Silvestre Bello, head of the GRP panel, that JASIG remains operative. This means that all the NDFP consultants who are involved in the ongoing peace negotiations are guaranteed (1) free and unhindered passage in all areas in the Philippines, and in traveling to and from the Philippines in connection with the performance of their duties in the negotiations; and (2) immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation or any other similar punitive actions due to any involvement or participation in the peace negotiations.

Because the peace negotiations are still on, the bilateral consultations between the working groups of the GRP and NDFP can continue to be held in the Philippines to prepare for the eventual resumption of the formal talks. All the NDFP panel members and consultants involved in the work of the different bilateral teams of the RWCs-SER (Reciprocal Working Committees-Social and Economic Reforms) and of the RWGs-PCR (Reciprocal Working Group-Political and Constitutional Reforms) are covered by JASIG and should remain free and unhindered to go about their work.

We deem it necessary to underscore the continuing effectivity of the JASIG in order to prevent any misreading or misinterpretation that would lead prosecutors to move for, and for the courts to cancel, the bail bonds of NDFP consultants still facing charges and for the police and military to arrest NDFP consultants who are set to return to the Philippines following the GRP’s cancellation of the fifth round of formal talks.

The JASIG-protected NDFP consultants currently in The Netherlands flew out of the country in good faith and the GRP is duty-bound under JASIG and other pertinent agreements to ensure that they will not be harassed, surveilled, searched, arrested or detained after they set foot in the Philippines.###

Fidel V. Agcaoili
Contact No. 0031-64-1324348