GRP and NDFP announce peace talks opening delay

Chief negotiators Silvestre Bello III and Fidel Agcaoili addressed representatives of migrant groups here in The Netherlands to announce the delay in the opening of the GRP-NDFP formal talks.

GRP’s Bello said their panel received new instructions from President Rodrigo Duterte which they have to discuss with the NDFP.

The migrants, majority of whom are Migrante International members, were invited to witness the opening ceremony.

Joma, NDFP celebrate NPA anniversary in Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands–Prof. Jose Ma. Sison and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines International Office celebrated the 48th founding anniversary of the New People’s Army in this city last Friday with a program and film showing.

Featuring speeches and recent videos of NPA military parades, the event was Sison’s first public appearance after being discharged from the hospital due to pulmonary health problems.

Appearing rested and ready to participate the fourth round of formal peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, Joma talked about the film “A Guerilla is Like a Poet” which narrated how he and a handful of comrades founded the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army nearly five decades ago.

Here are some of the photos of the event attended by hundreds of Filipinos in The Netherlands and select NDFP delegates to the formal peace talks scheduled to begin today in Noordwick. (Photos by Jola Mamangun)

Joma lauds Duterte’s decision to continue talks

NATIONAL Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison lauded Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to continue with the stalled formal peace negotiations.

Still recovering from a recent illness, Sison said he “express(es) deep appreciation to President Rodrigo Duterte for deciding to continue the peace negotiations and enabling the GRP to proceed with the scheduled 4th round of  formal talks in April.” Read more

Manobo woman leader calls for peace talks resumption

Manobo woman leader Bae Joselyn Agdahan of Quezon, Bukidnon calls for the resumption of formal peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

She said there must be peace in their land as GRP troops continue to encroach into their communities, killing many of their tribes people.

Joint Statement on peace talks

Artists’ Creed for Peace

GRP arrests NDFP consultant

Arbitrario (second from right) at the closing ceremony of the first round of talks in Oslo, Norway in August last year.

ARIEL ARBITRARIO, a National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant who participated in formal peace negotiations in Norway last year, was arrested by combined Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) military and police forces this morning in Davao City.

Arbitrario and his companions Roderick Mamuyac, reportedly a member of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, and Jun Sindac were apprehended at a military checkpoint in Toril District at 10 o’clock this morning.

The three were taken to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) office in San Pedro, Davao City. Sindac was immediately released.

Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division spokesperson Capt. Rhayan Batchar confirmed Arbitrario’s arrest which he said was based on Duterte’s speech in Cagayan de Oro yesterday.

Duterte has also ordered the military and the Bureau of Immigration to be on the lookout for the whereabouts of NDFP consultants released on bail by the courts August last year.

According to human rights group Karapatan, the CIDG planned to bring Arbitrario to Regional Trial Court 11 Branch 1 in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley Province.

Another JASIG violation

The NDFP condemned the arrest and identified Arbitrario as its Consultant for Mindanao.

“Arbitrario is a publicly-known consultant in the peace talks and is the holder of NDFP Document of Identification Number PP 978542 dated 22 August 2016 that has been duly acknowledged by GRP Chairperson Silvestre H. Bello III on 16 September 2016,” NDFP Negotiating Panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoili said.

Agcaoili said Arbitrario is therefore covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and is immune from arrest in the performance of his duties and responsibilities in the peace negotiations.

“We must remind the GRP that the peace negotiations are ongoing,” Agcaoili said, adding that under the terms of the JASIG, the GRP is obliged to send the NDFP a written notice of termination that would take effect only 30 days after our receipt of such notice.

“In the meanwhile, all agreements that have been reaffirmed and signed between the two Parties remain in full force and effect, including the JASIG, the CARHRIHL and the Joint Statements signed in Oslo and Rome in August 2016, October 2016, and January 2017 respectively,” Agcaoili said.

Under the Agreement, the companions of Arbitrario when he was arrested are also covered by the protection of the JASIG, Agcaoili explained.

“Our lawyers have advised us that Arbitrario’s release last August is secured by bail. Even in accordance with GRP’s own laws and processes, Arbitrario´s arrest is in contravention of GRP’s own rules of procedures as he is claimed to be under the jurisdiction of GRP courts,” he said.

Karapatan also cried foul over Arbitrario’s arrest, noting the GRP Negotiating Panel has yet to formally notify its NDFP counterpart of the termination of formal peace negotiations between the two parties.

“With the arrest of peace consultant Ariel Arbitario this morning, the Armed Forces of the Philippines is clearly taking advantage of the verbal orders of President Rodrigo Duterte. The JASIG is still in force,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

Arbitrario was first arrested February 16 last year along with his brother Crispulo in Tagum City, Davao del Norte by the Philippine Army, alleging that he was the secretary of the New People’s Army’s Guerilla Front 2 under its Southern Mindanao Regional Committee. (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Arbitrario (second from right) with fellow NDFP peace consultants and Royal Norwegian Government’s Ambassador to the Philippines Erik Forner (seventh from left) in Oslo, Norway.


Arbitrario (third from left) upon arriving in Oslo with fellow NDFP peace consultants.