By Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant
If he is truly interested in peace negotiations with the NDFP, President Duterte as political leader and commander-in-chief of the GRP has to reorient his defense, military and police officials and order them to let the peace negotiations proceed and tackle the substantive agenda on social, economic and political reforms under safety and immunity guarantees for the negotiating personnel of both sides and under conditions that the NDFP is secure from the hostile conditions of militarization and fascisation in the Philippines under the current regime.
The most militarist-minded and brutal officers of the AFP and PNP must be reminded to stop pipe-dreaming about entrapping the NDFP negotiating personnel in Metro Manila at the very resumption of formal talks, putting them under their control and surveillance and thereby obtaining by sheer trickery the victory that they cannot obtain in the battlefield and through their use of psywar which consists of fake news, fake community support projects, fake surrenders and fake encounters.
The NDFP negotiating personnel (negotiators, consultants and technical staff) are highly principled and intelligent people, conscious of the dirty strategy and tactics of the reactionary military and police forces and always mindful of how Randy Malayao was murdered, several NDFP consultants have been arrested and detained on trumped up charges and with planted evidence and how all the consultants, resource persons and technical staff of the NDFP are being red-tagged and threatened with arrest and summary execution in violation of JASIG and CARHRIHL.
The peace negotiations cannot be resumed without a formal meeting in a foreign neutral venue abroad to reaffirm the bilateral agreements made since The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 and to overcome all the repressive issuances that the Duterte regime has made since 2017 to terminate and prevent peace negotiations and to unleash campaigns of red-tagging, abductions, torture, mass murder, looting, arson, bombing and other atrocities against mere suspects and civilian communities.
In my particular case as chief political consultant of the NDFP, I cannot give up the legal protection that I enjoy under the Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights and practically surrender myself to a regime and its armed minions that are notorious for gross human rights violations. I cannot leave the Netherlands without first getting the political and legal guarantees of several pertinent governments to retain my rights to non-refoulement and Article 3 of the European Convention for the noble purpose of talking peace with Duterte in a country near the Philippines.
Certain high military officials have claimed that they are so sure of destroying the armed revolutionary movement of the people and have declared that they do not want any peace negotiations and ceasefire of any kind. Arrogantly, they boast that the NDFP has no choice but surrender in Manila ab initio. They go against the publicly expressed wish of Duterte himself for peace negotiations and a bilateral ceasefire.
In view of the mania of his military officers for war and the continuance of operational plans to destroy the people’s revolutionary movement, there is compelling reason to hold the peace negotiations in a neutral venue abroad until such time that comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms are mutually approved for the benefit of the people. Duterte can remind his own military and police officers that they have embarrassed him enough with their continuing failure to destroy the revolutionary movement with brute military force and psywar.
It is standard practice to hold peace negotiations between two warring parties in a neutral foreign venue to preclude the peace spoilers and saboteurs from having too many opportunities to spoil or sabotage the peace negotiations. Most of the major agreements in the GRP-NDFP peace process were made during the time of Ramos in a foreign neutral venue and under circumstances when the negotiations were carried out while fighting continued in the Philippines. If Duterte cannot yet stop his own military officers from waging war, it is possible to talk while fighting and this is still better than no talk at all, if I may quote some of the peace advocates.
But of course, it is even far better that Duterte’s military and police minions are restrained immediately from taking advantage of the repressive issuances he previously made and from further committing human rights violations against the people and suspected revolutionaries. The broad masses of the people benefit immediately from respect for their human rights, including their civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights. Let CARHRIHL guide both the GRP and NDFP and generate favorable conditions for the comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms. ###