Aquino Government’s Peace Adviser Dilly-Dallying on Peace Talks — NDFP

The NDFP has reiterated its readiness to resume peace talks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) on the basis of The Hague Joint Declaration and subsequent agreements — Luis Jalandoni,  chairman of the NDFP negotiating panel.


MANILA — The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) snubbed a forum organized by peace advocates in Manila on Sept. 15.

Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles of the OPAPP did not show up at the forum entitled “Prospects for Peace” organized by the Pilgrims for Peace, Benedictines for Peace, La Salle Justice and Peace Commission and Religions for Peace Philippines Interfaith Youth Network.

Organizers said the invitation was sent three weeks ahead of the schedule. The OPAPP even asked for a copy of the program but declined the invitation a day before the event. The organizers were told that Deles has a previous commitment.

Nardy Sarbino of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) and a member of the secretariat of the Pilgrims for Peace told Bulatlat that they asked for a representative to come or a statement from the OPAPP. Neither was granted.

“Secretary Deles is dilly-dallying on the peace talks with the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines),” said Luis Jalandoni, chairman of the NDFP negotiating panel, at the forum. “Aquino should pay attention not only to the conflict in Mindanao but also to the NPA (New People’s Army) and CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines),” Jalandoni further said.

The NDFP has reiterated its readiness to resume peace talks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) on the basis of The Hague Joint Declaration and subsequent agreements.

In the Hague Joint Declaration of 1992, Jalandoni said both parties agree not to impose or demand capitulation but rather address the root causes of the armed conflict. The agreement also sets the agenda items for the peace talks namely human rights and international humanitarian law, social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and end of hostilities and disposition of forces.

“We were hoping that the new administration would share this view. Aquino’s ceasefire precondition deeply disappointed us,” Jalandoni said, adding that the demand for a general ceasefire is a violation of the Hague Joint Declaration.

Out to please the military

Jalandoni said it seems that Aquino wants to please the military and police.  Jalandoni said the role of the military in the Aquino administration seems to be very significant.

In a separate statement, the CPP criticized what it calls the “unprecedented 81-percent increase” in the budget for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). 

In a separate statement, Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, spokesman of the NDFP-Mindanao said the extension of the Arroyo regime’s counterinsurgency campaign Oplan Bantay Laya exposes Aquino’s real “peace” plan: to step up military offensives against the NPA and the MILF.

“AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo David Jr., in his declaration of a new counter-insurgency plan by Jan 1, 2011, bragged that the new strategy would focus on respect for human rights, admitting, in effect, that nine years of OBL were replete with human rights violations.  The declaration, however, is betrayed with the extension of OBL for 6 months, the same OBL that spawned the extrajudicial killings of more than a thousand ordinary civilians, peasants and worker leaders, activists, religious and journalists, and committed countless other human rights abuses, including the dislocation of the socio-economic well-being of the people in the countryside,” Madlos said.

Madlos noted that this is the first time in recent history for a new government to have deliberately opted to wage war nearly as soon as it was installed. “Previous regimes such as those of Gen. Ramos, Estrada, Noynoy’s mother Cory, and even of Arroyo, had some sense to allow military offensives to ebb during their first months in office, but not so in Noynoy Aquino’s case. He appears to be in a hurry to please his US imperialist masters, especially in laying the ground for the entry and the increase in profitability of mining companies and foreign-owned plantations…” Madlos said. 

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