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Peace talks resumption possible if Duterte abandons ‘fascist dictatorship’—Sison, CPP

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said that the resumption of formal peace negotiations between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) remain doubtful due to the lack of “conducive conditions.”

The CPP said that while public clamor for the resumption of the talks remains strong, peace talks cannot be resumed as long as President Rodrigo Duterte’s 2017 proclamation terminating peace negotiations remains in place.

In November 23, 2017, Duterte issued Proclamation 360 terminating the peace negotations and creating a task force to end insurgency, reintroducing the whole-of-nation approach employed by previous administrations.

The CPP said the situation created by the GRP’s intensified anti-insurgency program is made worse by widespread killings by Duterte’s agents in Negros and across the country, “continuing incarceration of leading NDFP consultants as well as the recent arrest and detention of two members of the NDFP peace staff.”

In his speech in Malacañan Thursday, August 8, Duterte claimed the NDFP asked him to resume the peace negotiations.

“They are insisting on resuming the talks. And the others, I will not mention the name, want to come home to talk,” Duterte said during the oath-taking of newly promoted star-rank police officers.

“Two of them. As a matter of fact, sabihin ko na, si (Luis) Jalandoni pati si (Fidel) Agcaoili,” he said.

NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison, however, said Duterte is completely wrong in presuming and implying that the revolutionary Left will negotiate with his regime under his unilateral terms.

Sison said that Duterte is mistaken in saying that NDFP Negotiating Panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoili and senior adviser Luis Jalandoni want to talk with him in Manila despite the president’s termination of the talks as well as his Proclamation 374 designating the CPP and the New People’s Army (NPA) as so-called terrorist organizations.

Sison also cited Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70 ordering intensified military operations against NPA strongholds in Bicol, Samar and Negros, as well as “so many other despotic issuances and actions that are obstacles to GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.”

“There is yet no sign whatsoever that he is abandoning his scheme of fascist dictatorship, which is quite overreaching, especially because of his deteriorating health and the rapidly approaching end of his rule either by ouster or end of his legal term in less than three years,” Sison said in a statement.

“GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and the Manila visit of Agcaoili and Jalandoni are impossible so long as Duterte is in power and does not remove the aforesaid obstacles that he himself is responsible for,” Sison revealed.

Sison added that Duterte “underestimates the revolutionary integrity, long experience and intelligence of the NDFP by presuming that Agcaoili and Jalandoni will walk into his trap and slaughterhouse in Manila.”

Both Sison and the CPP said the NDFP maintains the policy of keeping its doors always open to peace negotiations, heedful of the clamor of various sectors for the resumption of peace negotiations amid Duterte’s all-out war.

Sison, however, pointed out that GRP-NDFP peace negotiations are only possible if Duterte does away with the “obstacles” he has made and mends his ways.

Sison added that the The Hague Joint Declaration and further peace agreements must be reaffirmed if the negotiations are to be resumed. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Duterte: Military, police has final word on peace agreement with NDFP

President Rodrigo Duterte revealed his will not be the last word on whatever peace agreement the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) enters into with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

In a speech in Tanza, Cavite Thursday (November 22) to inaugurate a new barge port, Duterte said he will seek approval from the military and the police before signing a final agreement with the NDFP even if he already approves of it.

“Give me the final draft [of a peace agreement]. If I like it, I will pass it on to the military and the police. I will ask [them], ‘Is this alright with you?’” Duterte said.

Kasi, kung ‘di naman tanggap ng militar at pulis, I coup d’etat ka naman. Anak ng jueteng!” he explained. (Because, the military and the police will only launch a coup d’etat against me if they are against it. Son of a b****!)

Duterte also revealed he decided not to meet NDFP chief peace negotiator Fidel Agcaoili and senior peace adviser Luis Jalandoni.

“And this Agcaoili and Jalandoni would come here and talk to me. I said, ‘Why should I talk to you? You talk to [Presidential peace adviser Jesus] Dureza and [GRP chief negotiator Silvestre] Bello,’” Duterte said.

Duterte, however, has previously met with Agcaoili and Jalandoni after his election and assumption of the presidency, even promising to issue a general amnesty for more than 500 political prisoners.

Agcaoili, Jalandoni and NDFP Negotiating Panel member Coni Ledesma was set to arrive in the Philippines this week to meet with the new Norwegian Ambassador the Philippines and attend meetings as members of the Joint Monitoring Committee of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

The three negotiators did not push through with their homecoming after being threatened with arrest by interior and local government secretary Eduardo Año. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NDFP blames Año’s arrest threat for cancelled trip

YOGJAKARTA, Indonesia—Europe-based National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace negotiators announced they cancelled their planned trip to the Philippines and possible meeting with Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) President Rodrigo Duterte, blaming interior and local government secretary Eduardo Año’s threat to have them arrested.

In a statement today, NDFP Negotiating Panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoili said  he and fellow peace negotiator Coni Ledesma and senior adviser Luis Jalandoni have decided to forego their trip to the Philippines after Año said last November 16 that they will be arrested upon arrival.

“On November 16, DILG Sec. Eduardo Año issued a statement that we would be arrested upon our arrival unless the President says otherwise,” Agcaoili said.

“As a consequence, we decided in the following day to forego with the trip of Mr. Jalandoni and Ms. Ledesma whose names are in the so-called proscription case against the CPP and NPA,” he explained.

Agcaoili also clarified that his name was not included in the 600 persons listed by the Department of Justice in its terrorist proscription case against the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army last January.

He added that as far as he knows, there are no outstanding cases against him in any GRP court that could be a basis for his arrest.

Not ready

Agcaoili said that Duterte announced in Papua New Guinea last Friday while attending a summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations that he is not yet prepared to resume talks with the revolutionary movement.

He also revealed that they have been informed by the GRP last Sunday, November 18, that the appointment with the President had been cancelled and that he would only be meeting with presidential spokesperson Salvador  Panelo and presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza.

“[S]uch a meeting might not prove useful without a new perspective. As a consequence, we decided that I also forego with my trip scheduled for that evening for security consideration,” Agcaoili said.

He said that a meeting with Duterte had been scheduled on November 23 while they are in Manila, “considering that more than three months have passed since the GRP postponed the scheduled resumption of formal talks in Oslo, Norway, on June 28, 2018.”

Earlier, Duterte disclosed he is thinking about resuming the peace talks and has consulted the military about the matter.

“I will not keep it a secret. I do not want (it to be) confidential. They will come here. They want to talk to me. Their problem is they might be arrested,” Duterte said.

Other cancelled meetings

Because of the cancellation, Agcaoili said they failed to attend a meeting with the new Royal Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines scheduled yesterday.

The Royal Norwegian Government is the Third Party Facilitator to the NDFP-GRP peace process.

Agcaoili earlier said their trip was primarily in connection with his and Ledesma’s work as members of the NDFP section in the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

The JMS’ office is in Cubao, Quezon City. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NDFP-Duterte meeting up to the President–Agcaoili

The possible meeting between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) the Government of the Republic of the Philippines is up to President Rodrigo Duterte, the Left’s chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili said.

Agcaoili said they welcome the opportunity to meet with Duterte “unless he does not want to or his military is against it.”

In a speech in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan Saturday, Duterte said he is thinking of meeting with the NDFP negotiators.

“I called for a cluster meeting including the military. ‘So what do you think?’ They said, ‘Maybe. Perhaps maybe.’ It’s not a very big margin there, but ‘maybe,’” Duterte said.

Agcaoli said in a statement that he and fellow NDFP Negotiating Panel member Coni Ledesma have a scheduled trip to the Philippines in connection with their work as members of the NDFP component in the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

The NDFP and the GRP has a joint secretariat office in Quezon City where a total of 6,898 human rights violations complaints have been filed since June 2004 to March 2018.

The NDFP said 4,886 complaints have been received against GRP forces while 2,012 have been filed against the NDFP.

Agcaoili however earlier said majority of their complaints against their forces were nuisance complaints manufactured and filed by GRP agencies.

Agcaoili said they would be accompanied by NDFP Negotiating Panel senior adviser Luis Jalandoni.

Their trip would also include a meeting with the new Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Bjørn Jahnsen, he added.

Agcaoili gave no dates on their arrival and their possible meeting with Duterte.

Duterte has cancelled the peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP since November last year. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

 

LARAWAN: Mga pangunahing tagapagsalita at negosyador sa usapang pangkapayapaan

 

Habang hindi pa pormal na binubuksan ang usapang pangkapayapaan, nagpalitan na ng mga pahayag ang magkabilang panig, ang GRP at NDFP, hinggil sa dapat pa bang ituloy ang 5th round of formal talks. Patuloy na naghihintay ang mga mamamahayag sa kahihinatnan ng pulong ng dalawang  panig ngayong hapon.

The Netherlands, May 27, 2017

 

Visayas NDFP consultants sing ‘Dandansoy’ with Jalandoni

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants from the Visayas sing “Dandansoy” at the testimonial dinner for their recently-resigned chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni in Oslo, Norway last October 7.

Jalandoni served on the negotiating table for 24 years. He is now NDFP Negotiating Panel Senior Adviser. Read more

Youngest NDFP consultant talks about Luis Jalandoni’s contributions to the peace process

Watch and listen to NDFP Negotiating Panel’s Felix Randy Malayao, the youngest among its peace consultants, talk about recently resigned chief peace negotiator Luis Jalandoni’s most important contributions to the peace process in his more than 20 years on the negotiating table. 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

‘Historic’ peace talks end successfully with 6 agreements; panels agree to meet again in October

OSLO, Norway—The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) signed six major agreements at the end of their five-day “friendly and cordial” formal peace talks.

The negotiations ended as it began–with laughter and banter that reflected “historic and unprecedented” achievements:

  1. Reaffirmation of previously-signed agreements;
  2. Reconstitution of NDFP’s list of Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG)-protected personnel;
  3. Acceleration of the peace negotiations with a set timeline for the three remaining substantive agenda—socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and cessation of hostilities and disposition of forces;
  4. Release of political prisoners in pursuit of peace and in due consideration of the JASIG;
  5. The GRP will recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the issuance of an amnesty proclamation of NDFP-listed political prisoners, including those convicted for their political beliefs, subject to concurrence of Congress; and
  6. The Communist Party of the Philippines will declare a new indefinite unilateral ceasefire by the New People’s Army and the People’s Militias effective August 28 in response to Duterte’s indefinite and unilateral ceasefire which took effective August 21.

The GRP and NDFP panels also agreed to meet again for the second round of formal talks on October 8-12 in Oslo, Norway.

Both panels said their new agreements reversed the frustrations of the past 15 years and put the peace process back on track.

Duterte’s direct hand

Both panels credited Duterte’s “brave and unique” approach to peace-building for the success of the first round of talks.

“We cannot achieve this successful and very significant step forward in the peace negotiations without the strong commitment of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and the spirit of goodwill and friendliness of our counterparts,” said Luis Jalandoni, Chair of the NDFP Negotiating Panel, in his closing statement.

“Not only has President Duterte walked the extra mile. He has also taken a step back to give the NDF space under his democratic and inclusive government,” Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza for his part said.

NDFP panel member said Coni Ledesma said that the talks reflected the Duterte government’s determination to seek peace through negotiations with CPP, NPA and the NDFP.

“It is like black to white. Malaki ang kaibahan ng Duterte administration sa mga nakaraang rehimen,” Ledesma said.

What went before

Previous GRP panels under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino governments failed in reaching as many agreements with the NDFP in their formal talks in 2004 and 2011, respectively.

While the Duterte government’s peace panel agreed with the NDFP to reaffirm all 10 major agreements forged under the Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada governments, the Arroyo and Aquino governments sought to dismiss them.

Teresita Deles, peace adviser to both the Arroyo and Aquino, was reported to have said that The Hague Joint Declaration is “a document of perpetual division” while immediate past GRP panel head Alexander Padilla wanted a new track separate from the declaration.

Deles has also reportedly petitioned the Royal Norwegian Government, third party facilitator to the peace negotiations, to stop funding the GRP-NDFP Joint Secretariat of the JMC-CARHRIHL.

Vital participation of consultants and advisers

At this morning’s closing ceremony, both panels acknowledged each other’s consultants and advisers who directly participated in the formal talks.

Sixteen NDFP consultants recently released from various prisons across the Philippines were able to join the negotiations.

Also released but failed to join the talks were Loida Magpatoc and couple Alex and Winona Birondo.  The Birondos have yet to secure their passports from the Department of Foreign Affairs while Magpatoc is still on her way to Europe from Manila.

Not released in time for the first round of talks were political detainees Renato Baleros Sr. and Edgardo Friginal.

The NDFP are also asking for the immediate release of convicted consultants Emeterio Antalan, Leopoldo Caloza and Eduardo Sarmiento from The National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa City.

The GRP for its part presented Tarlac congressman Victor Yap as its panel adviser for the House of Representatives while Quezon City and Angeles City mayors Herbert Bautista and Edgardo Pamintuan, respectively, were presented as peace advisers for local government units.

Historical

GRP negotiating panel chair Silvestre Bello III thanked the NDFP for its patience and candidness and said he is looking forward to forging a final peace agreement with their counterparts.

NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison added that the closing of the first round of talks is historical.

 “Maluwag ang pagtanggap ng parehong panig sa paninindigan ng bawat isa. Parehong  naghanap ng mapagkaka-isahan,” Sison said.

As the closing ceremony concluded, both panels, their consultants-advisers and respective staff sang the ‘Happy Birthday’ song for newly-released NDFP Consultant for Panay Concha Araneta-Bocala who is celebrating her 66th birthday today. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

 

Jalandoni: Incoming Duterte gov’t showing firm commitment

In their two-day exploratory talks in Oslo, Norway last June 15-16, the incoming Rodrigo Duterte administration of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) signed a Joint Statement where both parties agreed to resume formal talks on the third week of July.

In this interview, NDFP negotiating panel chairperson Luis Jalandoni answers questions on some details of the statement, their preparations for the resumption of the fomal negotiations, the creation of wider support to the talks, and fears that the negotiations may be discredited by parties opposed to the incoming Duterte government’s alliance with the Left.  Read more