No talk of surrender in the peace negotiations, NDFP says

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) said it will never consider any talk about its surrender and those of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) should peace negotiations with the Ferdinand Marcos government push through.

In a statement, NDFP Executive Council member and senior adviser to the NDFP Negotiating Panel Luis Jalandoni said, “[T]here is and should absolutely be no talk or insinuation, much less demand, about the surrender of the NDFP or of the revolutionary struggle of the CPP, NPA and NDFP.”

Jalandoni explained that their group has always negotiated with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) under various administrations to genuinely resolve the real reasons for the armed conflict.

“The peace negotiations are not negotiations for capitulation but rather a unique opportunity to find mutually acceptable and principled ways of addressing the root causes of the civil war,” he said.

This means, among others, the land problem that impacts on more than 70% of the entire Philippine population, namely the farmers, he explained.

“Their struggle for land must be addressed,” the former NDFP chief negotiator said.

Jalandoni added that their agreement to enter anew into the peace process with the GRP is based on the premises and context of their November 23 Joint Statement.

“Morover, we in the NDFP have firmly asserted from the start that we must build on the basic bilateral agreements, namely, The Hague Joint Declaration of September 1, 1992, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) which remain binding between the Parties,” he explained.

Earlier, presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. said the prospective peace talks between the NDFP and the Marcos GRP would not be a resumption but a “new beginning.” 

The former general added that the absence of “preconditions” will give the parties “greater flexibility to engage in meaningful, honest discussions, and by doing so, allow the peace process to move forward at a more definite and faster pace.”

Jalandoni however said various issues and concerns from both sides remain outstanding and are yet to be negotiated across the table.

“We in the NDFP are ever committed to enter into peace negotiations with the GRP in a determined quest for a just and lasting peace that will be of lasting benefit to the Filipino people,” he said.

All but Sara

Meanwhile, top leaders of both houses of Congress said they support President Marcos’ decision to negotiate with the NDFP.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri told reporters last Wednesday he approves of the resumption of the peace talks.

“Any political move that will end any conflict within the Philippines, I’m in favor of, because those are long lasting solutions,” he said.

Earlier, House of Representatives Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said the peace negotiations are not mere political maneuvers but a responsibility of both parties in pursuit of peace.

Unlike Zubiri and Romualdez however, Vice President Sara Duterte has openly rebuked Marcos Jr.’s decision to negotiate with the NDFP, the first such instance since the country’s top four leaders ran and won under the UniTeam slogan in the 2022 national elections. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)