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CASER may be approved by July or August—Joma

Jose Maria Sison said a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) may be approved between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) in about two months.

In response to yet another assurance from GRP President Rodrigo Duterte for his safety should he come home to the Philippines, Sison said both parties are a few weeks away from completing the most substantial of issues in the peace negotiations.

“For sure I shall return to the Philippines after the signing of the interim peace agreement, which is already being prepared for June, and the subsequent mutual approval of the comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms by the GRP and NDFP either in July or August,” Sison said.

The NDFP and the GRP are set to meet in June in Oslo, Norway for the resumption of the fifth round of formal talks that has been cancelled by Duterte three times in the past 12 months.

The parties are reportedly set to sign an interim peace accord via a coordinated unilateral ceasefire agreement as well as a general amnesty proclamation for NDFP-listed political prisoners and the signing of the agrarian reform and rural development and national industrialization and economic development components of the CASER in late June.

Earlier, Duterte again assured Sison he will not be assassinated should he decide to come home for a face-to-face meeting between them.

“Walang [Benigno] Aquino style na patayan na barilin ko sa likod. (There will be no Aquino-style assassination where I’ll shoot someone at the back). It’s not my [style],” Duterte said Wednesday in a speech in Manila.

Aquino was assassinated on August 21, 1983 upon landing at the Manila International Airport after years of exile in the United States of America.

“I welcome the assurance of safety by President Duterte. It is much better that there is such an assurance,” Sison said in reply.

“The most important thing is that we can dialogue and agree on how best we can serve the interest of the Filipino people, especially the toiling masses of workers and peasants through the peace negotiations and cooperation under the principles of national sovereignty, democracy and social justice,” Sison added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Joma explains the status of the ongoing peace nego after 2nd day

The parties determined they have the political will to continue with the peace negotiations, maganda lalo na on the side of the GRP. They have a president who said he is a left president. We appreciate the release of theJASIG-protected consultants.  But I also pointed out that a big incentive to accelerate the peace process ay iyong promise to amnesty and release of all political prisoners. It was a promise that originated from President Duterte in his conversations with Fidel Agcaoili.  So, I said, the amnesty and release of all political prisoners would be a good incentive for the signing of a joint or bilateral ceasefire agreement that is more stable than this ceasefire through unilateral declaration—which happen to be holding, huh. It will also be a strong incentive for the accelerated peace talks on socio-economic and political and constitutional reforms. Read more

GRP-NDFP negotiations on social and economic reforms, release of political prisoners face delay

Oslo, Norway–Negotiations on social and economic reforms (SER) as well as amnesty for political prisoners faced delays prompting the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to conclude their second day of negotiations early.

The parties’ reciprocal working committees for SER adjourned by midday after failing to unify their differing draft outlines while earlier GRP-NDFP panel discussions also failed to agree on the conduct of release of more than 400 political prisoners. Read more

Panels announce six agreements on 4th day of talks

OSLO, Norway—The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace panels have already agreed on six major issues barely into the fourth day of their scheduled five-day talks.

Moving with surprising dispatch, both panels already initialled their joint drafts of the affirmation of previously signed agreements, reconstitution of NDFP’s list of Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG)-protected personnel, acceleration of the peace negotiations, the mode of interim ceasefire, general amnesty of NDFP-listed political detainees, and the convening of the Joint Monitoring Committee of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

All six agreements are currently being combined and will be issued as a Joint Statement at the closing ceremony scheduled at eleven o’clock in the morning of Friday, August 26.

Natutuwa kami sa naging resulta ng pag-uusap ngayon.  Itong anim na punto ay magandang produkto na ng pag-uusap. At mahusay ang atmosphereVery friendly at cordial,” NDFP chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni said.

“It turned out that both panels did not have many differences in opinion, so we reached an early consensus,” GRP negotiating panel chairperson Silvestre Bello III for his part said.

Bello said they will recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the issuance of a general amnesty to all political detainees included in the list submitted by the NDFP.

Both panels have also agreed to hold their next round of formal talks in the second week of October in this city. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)