September 8, 2008 – 1:53 p.m.
A delegation of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP) held a dialogue with the negotiating panel and consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), Sept. 2, in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
The PEPP delegation was composed of co-convenors Archbishop Antonio Ledesma and Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz-Duremdes, and members Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, Bishop Efren Tendero, Sister Cres Lucero and Ofelia Cantor. Fr. Michel Beckers of the Norwegian Ecumenical Peace Platform joined the PEPP delegation.
They met with Luis Jalandoni, chairperson of the NDFP negotiating panel, and panel members Fidel Agcaoili, Julieta de Lima and Coni Ledesma, Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison, member of the NDFP Monitoring Committee Danilo Borjal and Ruth de Leon, head of the NDFP panel secretariat.
The PEPP and the NDFP agreed that there is an urgent need to resume the formal talks in the peace negotiations and such resumption must be based on prior agreements between the two parties. They also agreed that ‘a just and lasting peace in the Philippines could only be attained by addressing the root causes of the armed conflict.’
Jalandoni said that the NDFP is willing to hold informal talks in order to prepare the resumption of formal talks as soon as possible in accordance with the existing agreements between the GRP and NDFP.
Jalandoni informed the PEPP delegation that the NDFP had proposed to the GRP a10-point concise agreement on the principles for immediate peace, but unfortunately, the GRP did not respond.
Sison said that the basic problem in pushing the resumption of formal talks is the lack of interest of Ms. Gloria Arroyo in the peace negotiations, and the heavy hand of militarists like Eduardo Ermita and Norberto Gonzales in the GRP Negotiating Panel. He observed that Arroyo had apparently closed the door to peace negotiations by demanding demobilization, disarmament and rehabilitation as preconditions. He noted that this latest of the GRP preconditions aggravated the previous precondition of prolonged ceasefire, which was already a gross violation of The Hague Joint Declaration.
Sison pointed out that all impediments to the peace negotiations can be resolved by complying with existing agreements. He said that the GRP and NDFP can overcome the terrorist blacklisting of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA) and the NDFP Chief Political Consultant, in accordance with the Oslo Statements I and II, by simply making a joint declaration that no foreign government should breach Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity by interfering with legal and political matters that are strictly internal to the Philippines.
The NDFP panel requested the PEPP to call on the GRP to comply with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and release NDFP consultants Angie Ipong, Elizabeth Principe and Randall Echanis. The NDFP also urged the PEPP to call for the surfacing of consultants who have been involuntarily disappeared and the lifting of false charges against Sison and consultants like Vicente Ladlad and Rafael Baylosis. (Bulatlat.com)