While the chief negotiator of the Aquino government Alexander Padilla is blaming the NDFP for setting preconditions – the release of detained NDFP consultants – Luis Jalandoni, chairman of the NDFP panel, said the government is the one insisting on a precondition, an indefinite ceasefire.
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – The CPP-NPA-NDFP belied the accusations of the (GPH) peace panel blaming it for the failure of the peace talks.
In a statement posted at the website of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp), chief negotiator Alexander Padilla accused the NDFP of imposing preconditions to the talks.
“We cannot wait forever for the other side if they continually refuse to go back to the negotiating table without preconditions,” Padilla said. “We have always been open to resume formal negotiations with them, but they keep on insisting on preconditions, such as the release of their detained consultants.”
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), in a statement posted at the NDFP website, belied Padilla’s statement, saying the NDFP has not imposed any precondition.
“The release of NDFP consultants is an obligation of the GPH under previous agreements, particularly the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG),” the CPP said. “The GPH’s refusal to fulfill its obligation to release the NDFP consultants under the JASIG gives the people no assurance that it will fulfill the obligations it would enter into in the future.”
Jasig is an agreement signed by both parties in 1995 that provides immunity from suit, arrest, detention and other forms of harassment to all participants in the peace negotiations.
Fourteen NDFP consultants and personnel remain in detention. Four of them were arrested under the Aquino administration.
When formal talks began in February 2011, both parties signed the Oslo Statement which states that “the GPH shall continue to work on appropriate measures to effect the expeditious release of all or most of the fourteen (14) NDFP listed JASIG consultants and personalities before the second round of formal talks.”
By June 2011, the NDFP proposed the postponement of talks to give time for the GPH to comply with its commitment to release NDFP consultants.
“The public should be informed that the GPH under the Aquino regime has not released a single detained NDFP consultant in compliance with JASIG,” Luis Jalandoni, chairman of the NDFP panel, said.
Jalandoni said all the five NDFP consultants released since 2010 were able to regain their freedom due to legal actions undertaken by their lawyers.
The GPH has refused to release detained NDFP consultants, saying the so-called verification process failed. The disk containing the list of JASIG-protected individuals could not be opened.
In a meeting with leaders of people’s organizations, April 30, Rey Claro Casambre, NDFP consultant to the peace talks, said the NDFP has proposed to reconstitute the list of consultants in accordance with Jasig but the GPH did not agree to it.
“It is apparent that from the beginning, the GPH panel does not want to release the detained consultants,” Casambre said.
Jalandoni said the Aquino regime has shamelessly continued the Arroyo regime’s practice of arresting and detaining NDFP consultants on false charges of common crimes and thereby violating both the JASIG and Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). He said the Aquino regime has also ignored NDFP demands for the serious investigation of the disappearance, torture and extrajudicial killing of NDFP consultants under the Arroyo regime.
Padilla claimed that the NDFP peace panel members were also the ones who ended the special track to the peace talks. The so-called special track is the NDFP’s response to the GPH’s declaration that it wanted to fast-track the peace talks.
The GPH chief negotiator said that during the meetings last February, the NDFP proposed three new documents that backtracked from their original position on a Draft Declaration.
The CPP said that in both the December 2012 and February 2013 round of talks for the special track in The Netherlands, Aquino sent representatives who had no authority to sign anything with the special representatives of the NDFP, resulting in failed talks.
Padilla also dismissed what he calls as “the reverted to the prolonged and untenable process of the Regular Track.”
The regular track is based on the framework under the The Hague Joint Declaration. The 1992 bilateral agreement outlines four substantive agenda items – human rights and international humanitarian law; socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and end of hostilities and disposition of forces.
“The GPH doesn’t want to return to the regular track (formal talks) because it has been going nowhere for the last 27 years,” Padilla said.
Casambre said Padilla’s statement “is a big lie that denies what the peace talks have achieved so far, such as the CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law).”
“The main cause of the collapse is the GPH’s non-compliance with previously signed agreements,” Casambre said.
Jalandoni pointed out that it is the GPH that insists on the precondition of indefinite ceasefire in violation of the The Hague Joint Declaration which puts the agenda on end of hostilities and disposition of forces as the final agreement after forging agreements on social and economic, and political and constitutional reforms. “Without basic economic, social and political reforms there cannot be a just and lasting peace in the country,” Jalandoni said.
The GPH Draft of Declaration presented to the NDFP during the meetings in February calls for immediate, simultaneous, unilateral and indefinite ceasefires “in order to reduce the level of violence on the ground.” The GPH draft also calls for the progression of these unilateral ceasefires into a permanent one.
“It is preposterous to expect the NDFP to agree to an indefinite ceasefire that would give ground to the GPH to ignore more than ever before the substantive agenda on social, economic and political
reforms,” Jalandoni said.
Jalandoni said the GPH is preconditioning formal talks with the capitulation or surrender of the NDFP and the forces and people under the guise of demanding indefinite ceasefire.
No draft on Caser
Padilla said the Aquino administration is considering a “new approach” to peacefully resolve the armed conflict.
“Any new approach should be time-bound and agenda-bound,” Padilla said.
Satur Ocampo, former member of the NDFP peace panel during the Corazon Aquino administration, said that since peace talks resumed in 1992, the NDFP has always been the one offering talking points and the GPH has always been just waiting.
“The NDFP has prepared systematic proposals while the GPH’s declaration of addressing the roots of the armed conflict has always been rhetoric,” Ocampo said during the same meeting.
Casambre said: “Who has the concrete program to end the root causes of the armed conflict? Who abides by the signed agreements? Definitely, it’s not the GPH.”
Randall Echanis, a member of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee for Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms, the second in the substantive agenda, said the GPH has not presented any draft of Caser.
“They are not at all willing to discuss socio-economic reforms,” Echanis said. “All they wanted is for the NDFP to surrender.”
The CPP and the NDFP criticized presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda’s statement declaring “national industrialization” as an outmoded concept.
“In reality, it is the Aquino regime that is holding on to the archaic ideas of ‘foreign debt and investment
driven development’ espoused by the International Monetary Fund since the 1940s, and implemented by IMF-WB-loyal governments, including the Aquino regime. Contrary to claims of being “outdated”, the program for national industrialization, in fact, has become increasingly current as the problem of unemployment, underemployment and foreign labor deployment has become acute,” the CPP said.
Jalandoni asserted that no country in the world has ever achieved economic development without national industrialization. “The GPH’s concept of neoliberal globalization has been roundly discredited in developing Latin American countries,” he said.
Jalandoni said “the GPH wants is to justify the continuing plunder of the country’s natural resources, the destruction of the environment and the exploitation of the Filipino people, especially the indigenous peoples by big foreign multinational mining, logging and agricultural companies.”
“This plunder by foreign monopoly corporations is dubbed by the GPH as ‘industrialization,’” Jalandoni said.
Localized peace talks
Defense Secretarty Voltaire Gazmin said the government will hold localized peace talks with field units of the NPA.
Jalandoni said the Aquino administration’s “localized peace talks” is “an old, worn-out approach that has been proven totally futile.”
He said the GRP/GPH holding localized peace talks with such groups like the RPA-ABB “is like talking to its own puppet group, not peace talks at all.”
Jalandoni said the RPA-ABB is just like a CAFGU [paramilitary] group and has become a private armed group of Danding Cojuangco. OPAPP gave RPA-ABB some funds from the PAMANA program.
“Such localized peace talks are also a source of corruption, with money pocketed by civilian and military officials, besides some amount for the fake peace talks group,” he said.
No formal notice yet
In a report by GMA News online, Lacierda was quoted as saying that presidential adviser on the peace process Teresita Deles has already notified Norway, which facilitates peace talks between the Philippines and the NDFP, on the government’s decision to terminate negotiations.
Jalandoni said that Ambassador Ture Lundh of the Royal Norwegian Government, in his correspondence to the NDFP, stated that the GPH neither formally nor informally informed them of such termination.
“It again shows no respect for binding peace agreements,” Jalandoni said.
The NDFP chief negotiator said the Jasig of 1995 requires that written notice be given by one party to the other in order to terminate the JASIG and the peace negotiations. No written notice of termination of the JASIG and the peace negotiations has been given by the GPH to the NDFP.
Vicente Ladlad, also an NDFP consultant, said the GPH’s “new approach” conforms to the national internal security plan of the Aquino administration. Ladlad said that based on the counterinsurgency program of the Aquino administration, the end-goal of the AFP is to render the CPP-NPA-NDFP irrelevant.
In January 2011, the Aquino administration declared that it would have decimated the NPA to inconsequence by mid-2013.
“This would explain why the government has been so hard-line in its approach in dealing with the NDFP in the past two years,” Ladlad said. Ladlad added that the GPH is setting the stage for the termination of the peace talks with the NDFP.
Ocampo agreed, noting Lacierda publicly declared that the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan continues. Ocampo said that for decades, such military approach to the armed conflict has failed.
The CPP said Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan “is succeeding only in carrying out brutal militarization of rural communities, committing more and more violations of human rights and children’s rights, and committing sex crimes against women.” “Aquino’s “peace and human rights” rhetoric is a thin veil that seeks only to hide the brutalities and fascist crimes being committed against the people,” the CPP said.
Still, Jalandoni said the NDFP is willing to move towards the resumption of formal peace talks, based on the previously signed binding agreements. “The peace negotiations should address the roots of the armed conflict through fundamental economic, social and political reforms which will pave the way to a just and lasting peace,” he said.