Second round to finish early; parties approve PCR and EHDF outlines

OSLO, Norway–The second round of formal talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines will finish a day earlier with the approval of outlines of at least two of the three remaining substantive agenda in the peace negotiations. Read more

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

NDFP, GRP open 2nd round of formal talks; present separate focus

OSLO, Norway — The second round of formal talks here between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) opened at six o’clock in the evening (Oslo time) after nine hours of delay.

Punctuated by a standing ovation by both parties to long-time and recently-resigned NDFP chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni, the opening ceremony was attended by more than a hundred panel members, consultants, staff and observers.

In his opening remarks, newly-appointed NDFP negotiating panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoili demanded for a general amnesty for more than 400 political prisoners as “a matter of justice and compliance with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).”

Agcaoili maintained that the continuing detention of political prisoners violates CARHRIHL, which upholds the Hernandez political doctrine. The doctrine is a Supreme Court jurisprudence that prohibits the criminalization of political dissent. Agcaoili said political prisoners are charged with “trumped-up common crimes.”

Agcaoili recalled GRP President Rodrigo Duterte’s offer of a general amnesty to political prisoners in a meeting on May 16.

“The most effective method of release is through an amnesty proclamation as offered by President Duterte himself,” Agcaoili said.

Agcaoili explained that “the proffered amnesty proclamation pertains to political prisoners and not to a general amnesty that is mutually extended to both Parties in the final settlement of an armed conflict.”

GRP Negotiating Panel chairperson Silvestre Bello III for his part focused on the approval of a joint ceasefire, along with the exchange of draft frameworks and outlines on socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and end of hostilities and disposition of forces.

The joint ceasefire is being awaited by the public, Bello added.

Members of the media were immediately asked to leave the conference room after the speeches but were not informed of the schedule of the usual briefing after each opening and closing ceremony of the talks.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and NDFP Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison spoke before the panel chairpersons delivered their opening speeches.

While Dureza focused on thanking the Royal Norwegian Government, congratulating Agcaoili and introducing the House of Representatives delegation, Sison for his part also talked about the release of political prisoners.

“The release of all political prisoners, in accordance with the CARHRIHL, would also serve as a very big incentive for a stable kind of ceasefire,” Sison said.

Other substantive agenda

In a press statement, the NDFP said that social and economic reforms agenda would be discussed starting on the second day of the talks.

The parties exchanged proposed framework and outline for the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (Caser) , the second agenda of the peace negotiations set by The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992.

The NDFP said Caser’s main objectives are agrarian reform and national industrialization; advancement of the rights of exploited, oppressed, discriminated and disadvantaged sectors of society; economic sovereignty; and national patrimony and the protection of the environment. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

GRP chairperson Bello's Opening Statement

GRP chairperson Bello’s Opening Statement

Page 1 of NDFP Chairperson Agcaoili's Opening Statement

Page 1 of NDFP Chairperson Agcaoili’s Opening Statement.

Page 2 of Agcaoili's Opening Statement.

Page 2 of Agcaoili’s Opening Statement.


NDFP Independent Cooperator: May kakampi ang mamamayang Pilipino

Panayam ng Kodao Productions kay Dr. Carol Araullo ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan hinggil sa papel ng mamamayang Pilipino sa peace talks. Read more

Jalandoni resigns, Agcaoili takes over as NDFP panel chair

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) announced Fidel Agcaoili’s assumption as its new negotiating panel chairperson as long-time chief Luis Jalandoni assumes his new role as senior adviser.

Agcaoili, erstwhile panel vice chairperson, is expected to deliver NDFP’s opening statement at the start of their second round of formal peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines today. He is also the chairperson of the NDFP’s Human Rights Committee. Read more

Norwegians happy with NDFP and GRP preparations for 2nd round of formal talks

Oslo, Norway. The Royal Norwegian Government praised both the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) for their preparations for the second round of formal peace negotiations in this city starting tomorrow.

Norwegian Special Envoy to the Philippine Peace Process Elisabeth Slattum said she is very pleased with how both parties prepared for this round after their August 22 to 27 negotiations.

“It’s great.  Both parties had very good meetings back in Manila,” Slattum said. Read more