NDFP Questions Sincerity of Aquino Government in Pursuing Peace Talks but Still Open to Resumption

The NDF-Mindanao said that Deles sends the wrong signal by hinting about giving priority to local peace talks and less importance to top level panel-to-panel peace talks, thus effectively sabotaging all previous GRP-NDFP signed peace agreements.’

“On top of the US-Aquino regime’s priority to consolidate its grip on and strengthen the AFP, with its badly beaten OBL which needs some major adjustments and morale boosting, by increasing its budget and personnel, and upgrading its weapons and equipment. The regime highlights military concerns at the expense of most needed funds for genuine agrarian reform and social services,” the NDF-Mindanao added.

The NDFP also scored Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin’s declaration that the NPA must first surrender before peace talks can start.

“Evidently, he is ignorant of The Hague Joint Declaration,” the NDFP said.

AFP’s Offensives in Mindanao

The NDF-Mindanao said the four divisions of the AFP based in Mindanao are currently conducting massive and widespread military operations against the NPA in the whole island. Most recently, almost 30 of the more than 40 AFP battalions together with para-military units in Mindanao are simultaneously scouring suspected NPA guerilla bases and zones, seeking encounters with NPA forces in the island. They are employing 105mm Howitzer cannons, reconnaissance and bomber planes.

The revolutionary group said that instead of hitting NPA units, it is the Lumad and peasant communities that are being terrorized by these AFP offensives. “With these military operations raging in Mindanao and probably across the archipelago, the Aquino administration has reared its ugly head; it has unruffled its feathers to show its true fascist character,” the NDF-Mindanao said. “Only into the second month of his rule, Mr. Aquino shows that he has sharper fangs than his predecessor, and seems intent on surpassing the brutality of the failed Oplan Bantay Laya, following to the letter the US Counter-insurgency manual where military options are given priority over peace talks,” the NDF-Mindanao said.

Human Rights

The NDFP also noted that Aquino’s SONA has absolutely no mention of the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances and other human rights violations.

“His stress on the corruption of the previous regime as the main and even the only cause of poverty covers up the reality of foreign and feudal exploitation and oppression and the need for fundamental social, economic and political reforms. The culture of impunity among the military and police is left untouched. Even the impotent Truth Commission excludes human rights violations from its avowed field of concern,” the NDFP said. Trumped-Up Charges against NDFP Members The NDFP also deplored the filing of murder charges in Hilongos, Leyte on July 21 against Jalandoni, Prof. Jose Maria Sison, NDFP chief political consultant, NDFP panel member Julieta de Lima, NDFP consultant Vicente Ladlad, NDFP reciprocal working committee on Social and Economic Reforms members, Rafael Baylosis and Randall Echanis and 48 others.

The NDFP said it is a gross violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) of 1995 which provides for the protection of all personnel of both Parties who participate in the peace negotiations. The JASIG stipulates that all those who participate in the peace process are guaranteed safe passage and immunity from punitive actions such as arrest, detention and surveillance.

“The use of false charges is by itself a violation of human rights and is aimed at persecuting those falsely accused and setting them up for further violent acts of the state against them,” Jalandoni said.

Under the Arroyo administration, NDFP consultants Leo Velasco, Prudencio Calubid, and Rogelio Calubad, among others, were abducted and forcibly disappeared. NDFP consultants and JASIG-protected persons arrested and still detained are Angie Ipong, Glicerio Pernia, Eduardo Sarmiento, Alfredo Mapano, Jovencio Balweg, and Jaime Soledad, among others.

“Despite all these negative indications of the stand of the Aquino administration regarding peace talks, the NDFP stands ready to resume peace talks based on The Hague Joint Declaration and other agreements,” Jalandoni said.

“We are willing to go into serious peace talks aimed at addressing the root causes of the armed conflict through fundamental social, economic, political and constitutional reforms,” the NDFP added.

But should the Aquino regime refuse or ignore the calls for peace talks to address the roots of the armed conflict, the NDFP said, the revolutionary forces are determined to carry on their struggle for national and social liberation to achieve a just and lasting peace. (Bulatlat.com)

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