Presentation on theme: "UPDATES ON GPH-NDFP PEACE NEGOTIATIONS -- the NDFP Perspective Prepared by Rey Claro Casambre Philippine Peace Center for the Sulong-CARHRIHL General Assembly."— Presentation transcript:
UPDATES ON GPH-NDFP PEACE NEGOTIATIONS -- the NDFP Perspective Prepared by Rey Claro Casambre Philippine Peace Center for the Sulong-CARHRIHL General Assembly 16 July 2013
Brief flashback: Resumption of GPH-NDFP Formal Peace Talks October 2010- Reconstitution of GPH Panel for the GPH- NDFP negotiations December 2010 - Meeting in Hongkong between GPH Panel Chair Alex Padilla and NDFP Panel Chair Luis Jalandoni paved the way to the resumption of formal talks January 2011 – Informal talks in Oslo, Norway; NDFP sends letter to Aquino with a proposal for alliance and truce and has been acknowledged even by previous GPH panels (eventually called the “special track”) February 2011 – Resumption of formal talks in Oslo, Norway (no response to special track proposal)
GPH derides The Hague Joint Declaration framework agreement At the February 2012 formal talks, the GPH formalized its “qualifications” with regard to the Hague Joint Declaration, describing it as a “document of perpetual division”. The NDFP replied that on the contrary, the Hague Joint Declaration has effectively served as the framework and foundation agreement, has made the negotiations move forward, and made possible the other major agreements such as the JASIG and the CARHRIHL. Previous GPH panels have acknowledged this as fact.
GPH non-compliance with JASIG and other bilateral agreements GPH failed to comply with the agreement to release “most if not all” of the 14 detained NDFP consultants and other JASIG-protected persons before the scheduled June 2011 formal talks. NDFP postponed the formal talks to give time to the GPH to comply with its commitments. GPH insisted on verification of JASIG protection as condition for release The attempt to verify the Documents of Identification of the detained consultants and other JASIG-protected persons failed because the encrypted files of the DIs stored in the safety deposit box could not be decrypted. The decrypting keys were apparently corrupted while in the possession of the Dutch police who had seized all the electronic files found in the raided offices and residences of the NDFP panel members, consultants and staff. GPH refusal to comply with JASIG or “on the basis of humanitarian and other practical reasons” has caused the non-resumption of the formal talks, or the impasse in the “regular track”.
GPH initial response to proposed special track September 2011 - NDFP received the first concrete response to the proposed “special track” or “Proposal for Alliance and Truce” in the form of a brief draft “General Declaration”. December 2011 – GPH representative met with NDFP representatives for special track, but did not carry any improved draft but proposed that a long ceasefire be held during the Christmas season, during which the GPH will release four or five detained consultants and JASIG-protected persons, enough to pave the way to the resumption of formal talks in January or February 2012. January 2012 – Despite the long ceasefire materializing, GPH did not release any of the detained consulants
GPH response to PEPP offer to serve as custodians for ROR February 2012 – PEPP offers to be collective and individual guarantors or custodians for the release on recognizance (ROR) of detained NDFP consultants “for humanitarian and practial reasons”, as per Feb 2012 Joint Statement, and to remove the obstacle to the resumption of formal talks GPH sets conditions for ROR of consultants which the PEPP deemed unreasonable and which eventually the consultants deemed unacceptable. June 2012 – In the GPH-NDFP informal talks, GPH unilaterally casts aside the long-standing mechanism or process for facilitating the release of detained consultants, saying the PEPP proposal for ROR shall be the mechanism to secure the releases
GPH response to NDFP proposal for alliance and truce (special track) With the regular track stalemated, the special track appeared to be an opening to keep the peace talks alive and revive the formal talks. October 2012 - GPH special representative, deemed to be the GPH principal’s emissary, proposed “historic moments” similar to the GPH- MILF developments that led to the signing of the Framework Agreement. GPH and NDFP agreed again to improve on and exchange their drafts Declaration.
December 2012 GPH-NDFP meeting on special track Press Communique December 18, 2012 The Special Representatives of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in pursuance of the special track of the GPH and NDFP peace negotiations met in The Hague on December 17-18, 2012. The Royal Norwegian Government hosted and facilitated the meeting.
The GPH Special Representatives were Secretary Ronald Llamas, Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs, GPH Negotiating Panel Chairperson Alexander Padilla, Efren Moncupa, GPH Panel Member, Undersecretary Chito Gascon (OPAPA) and Director Maria Carla Munsayac- Villarta, GPH Panel Secretariat Head. The NDFP Special Representatives were Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Founding Chairman of the CPP, NDFP Negotiating Panel Chairperson Luis Jalandoni, Fidel Agcaoili and Coni Ledesma, NDFP Panel Members. They were assisted by Vicente Ladlad, Political Consultant, Edre U. Olalia, Legal Consultant, Ruth de Leon, NDFP Panel Secretariat Head, and Rosario Agcaoili, staff. The Royal Norwegian Government as facilitator was represented by His Excellency Ambassador Ture Lundh who was accompanied by Senior Adviser Sverre Johan Kvale and Adviser Linn Kaja Rogstad.
1. The GPH and NDFP Special Representatives agreed to carry on the discussions pertaining to the following subjects: 1.1 Common declaration of national unity and just peace 1.2 Further upholding national independence, democracy and human rights 1.3 Committee for National Unity, Peace and Development 1.4 Agrarian reform, rural development and national industrialization 1.5 Truce 2. As earlier agreed upon, they confirmed the nationwide ceasefire from December 20, 2012 to January 15, 2013. 3. They agreed to meet again early next year. Authenticated by: (Sgd.) Ambassador Ture Lundh Special Envoy of the Royal Norwegian Government to the GPH-NDFP Peace Negotiations
(excerpts from NDFP Panel report to the NDFP council on why the talks on the special track broke down) The priorly agreed purpose of discussing the above subjects was to craft a mutually acceptable paragraph under each subject for incorporation in a joint press communique to be issued on the occasion of what Secretary Ronald Llamas, political adviser to the GPH President, proposed and described to the NDFP Delegation as the “first historic meeting” between the GPH President and the Founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Hanoi in the early part of 2013. Secretary Llamas likened said meeting to the Aquino-Murad meeting in Tokyo in August 2011.
Secretary Ronald Llamas as head of the GPH delegation submitted to the NDFP delegation the draft below, “Common Declaration for National Unity and a Just Peace”, dated December 17, 2012. The NDFP delegation received and subsequently critiqued it point by point. The NDFP presented its own initial draft Declaration, but the GPH delegation refused to discuss this, saying it had no mandate to do so and that the GPH principal did not want to form a “special team on the special track” The NDFP raised the issues of release of political prisoners, detained consultants and JASIG-protected persons and the investigation of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances of consultants. The GPH delegation again said they did not have the mandate to discuss these. NDFP issued its own press statement on what happened in the December 2012 meeting.
February 25-26 - GPH and NDFP representatives met again in Amsterdam Sheraton, in accordance with the previous GPH-NDFP agreement to meet in early 2013. To prepare for the projected first historic moment between the GPH President and CPP Founding Chairperson, the NDFP Delegation crafted the Draft Communique for the Hanoi Meeting dated February 23, 2013. It gave said draft to the GPH Delegation on February 24, 2013. But at the very first session of the Amsterdam meeting on February 25, the GPH Delegation refused to discuss this draft, declaring that they did not have the mandate to do so. GPH presented a draft Declaration proposing immediate, unilateral, indefinite multiple ceasefires in place of the truce proposed by the NDFP. GPH subsequently withdrew this draft and yet put on record its contents.
It became clear that the GPH or Llamas proposal to have an Aquino-Sison meeting in Hanoi, with Alan Jazmines attending, was not a serious offer but a mere ploy or bait to entice the NDFP to agree to the aforesaid GPH draft General Declaration in just one or two meetings. The NDFP Delegation had to point out that it took 6 months to forge the Ceasefire Agreement of 1986. It will certainly take more than 6 months to agree on a mutually acceptable truce agreement in view of the diametrically opposite positions of the GPH and the NDFP, as manifested by the GPH draft of February 20, 2013.
NDFP’s general conclusions (from “How the GPH Scuttled the February 25-26 Amsterdam Meeting”) The GPH has long paralyzed the regular track in the peace negotiations by declaring The Hague Joint Declaration as a document of perpetual division and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees as inoperative and useless in protecting NDFP consultants, staff, security officers and others. The GPH has deliberately refused to comply with its commitments in agreements forged with the NDFP, despite the full knowledge that compliance would immediately break the impasse and cause the resumption of the formal talks of the GPH and NDFP Negotiating Panels.
By its actuations during the Amsterdam meeting on February 25 and 26, 2013, the GPH has exposed itself as not really interested in any truce and cooperation arising from a special track. The GPH President has earlier refused to form the GPH team for the special track and allowed OPAPP and Secretary Teresita Q. Deles to obstruct and practically kill the peace negotiations, whether it is the special track or the regular track. Indeed, the GPH wants nothing but the pacification and capitulation of the revolutionary forces of the Filipino people through indefinite unilateral ceasefires without the basic reforms required by The Hague Joint Declaration and subsequent agreements.
It is not interested in addressing the roots of the armed conflict through negotiated social, economic and political reforms. It has used peace negotiations only as a means of psywar within the US-directed Oplan Bayanihan. It pays lip service to peace negotiations in order to reach a just peace but puts all the obstacles to prevent the progress of said negotiations. The US-directed Aquino regime has systematically acted to poison and destroy the ground and atmosphere for peace negotiations in order to give way fully to Oplan Bayanihan. It aims in vain to crush the revolutionary movement mainly through brutal military campaigns. The revolutionary forces of the Filipino people are hereby forewarned.
The GPH has the burden of showing that it is sincerely interested in continuing the peace negotiations in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration and subsequent agreements. The NDFP also challenges the GRP to respond to the NDFP Draft to Formulate the General Declaration and NDFP Initial and Partial Draft General Declaration on National Unity and Just Peace, both dated February 26, 2013 and show its willingness to work out a general declaration for the purpose of effecting truce and cooperation.###
Special track was not meant to replace or supplant the regular track but to facilitate and complement it. Regular track Just and lasting peace Reforms that address the roots of the armed conflict End of hostilities, disposition of forces Special track Immediate just peace; Alliance and truce – builds confidence and goodwill for regulat track Cooperation on major doable projects – inputs for regular track Hostilities/fighting stop
GPH eyes “new approach” to peace; tells NPA to stop inflicting violence Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel chair Alexander Padilla on Friday said that the P-Noy administration is considering a “new approach” to peacefully resolve the armed conflict with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF) amid the 22-month impasse in the negotiations and the mounting violence inflicted by the NPA on soft civilian targets. “We cannot wait forever for the other side if they continually refuse to go back to the negotiating table without preconditions,” he said. “The government will be taking a new approach to pursue peace.” Padilla said, “We have always been open to resume formal negotiations with them, but they keep on insisting on preconditions, such as the release of their detained consultants. Discussions under the Special Track have also been closed since they have come up with new demands.”
Padilla related that when the parties resumed the Special Track meeting on February 25-26, 2013, “Instead of discussing the Sison draft, the NDF proposed three new documents that backtracked from their original position on a Draft Declaration, particularly on ceasefire, which they now subjected to preconditions. They also reverted to the prolonged and untenable process of the Regular Track.” Apart from the demand to free their detained consultants, the CNN also demanded that the GPH abolish its peace and development programs, such as the Conditional Cash Transfer, PAMANA and Oplan Bayanihan. “These demands are just preposterous. We don’t want to engage in a negotiation where the other party is clearly fooling us,” Padilla said. “The ball is now in their hands, They were the ones who initiated the Special Track and they were the ones who ended it.” He added, “The GPH doesn’t want to return to the regular track (formal talks) because it has been going nowhere for the last 27 years.”
‘New approach’ to address issues on the table and on the ground -- Deles “The peace panel is conducting consultations with stakeholders nationwide, side by side with inter-agency discussions and workshops within government, to be able to bring in everyone's input,” Deles said. “This (approach) will seek to address concerns both on the peace table and on the ground, especially among the communities most affected by the conflict. We are not ready to give details at this time,” she said. The Secretary added that “the government remains committed to end all internal armed conflict through a multi-track approach. “The CPP/NPA/NDF killed their own initiative and the government does not want to return to the regular track which has been protracted and has not brought us any closer to peace,” Padilla added. Thus, the government is looking at a new approach that will finally put an end to the decades- long violent struggle. posted on OPAPP website, Tuesday, 30 April, 2013 - 15:18
Meanwhile, the government would continue to carry out its anti-insurgency campaign, Lacierda said. “The Oplan Bayanihan continues. It is a plan to win the hearts and minds of the rebels in the mountains, in the rebel-infested areas.”
May 9 – Padilla modifies GPH statements, position In a statement posted on the OPAPP website: The truth is we have not terminated the talks. We have simply stated the fact that the regular track is stalled and the special track has been effectively stymied by the NDFP. At this point, therefore, there is no track to pursue. The fact is, it is the CNN that has brought the talks to its present impasse. They stalled the formal talks (Regular Track-RT) after its promising re- opening in February 2011 by demanding the release of captured combatants, who they subsequently alleged to be NDFP consultants, before the talks could resume. This went beyond the letter and spirit of the Oslo Joint Statement of 2011 that re-established the talks. In two letters dated May 18 and 28, 2011, the NDF postponed the scheduled June meetings "until such time the releases of NDFP consultants and JASIG-protected persons are carried out." Hence, the impasse.
... and repeated some of its allegations “They also closed the avenue of the Special Track (ST), effectively terminating it, when Joma Sison, who authored the ST, reneged on his original proposal for an indefinite ceasefire and imposed demands that would have placed the ST on the protracted and difficult track of the RT. “With the regular track on an impasse before we could even commence discussing the substantive issues, and the special track effectively terminated, there is no track at the moment that will realistically lead to a final negotiated peace settlement of the 44 year internal armed conflict. “Without terminating the peace talks, the GPH is developing a new approach to peace talks that is time bound, agenda bound, with no preconditions and based on earnest consultations with the people who decry the fact that the violence has gone on for too long and demand that both sides heed their call for a peaceful resolution of the issues that they consider important and wish to put on the table.”
NDFP responses & position NDFP considers the negotiations ongoing and all bilateral agreements binding and effective despite GPH collapsing it and bringing it to the brink of termination NDFP remains open to the resumption of talks on both the special and regular tracks provided GPH complies with bilateral agreements it has signed. Compliance is an obligation, not a precondition. NDFP deplores the lies and distortions by the GPH that attempt to throw the blame for the collapse of the negotiations on the NDFP. It is not true that the regular track “has gone nowhere”, has not even commenced discussing the substantive agenda, The Hague Joint Declaration, is a “document of perpetual division. On the contrary, this framework agreement has made the negotiations possible and produced bilateral agreements such as the CARHRIHL which is the first substantive agenda It is the GPH, not the NDFP, that has caused the impasses and the current breakdown in talks by violating bilateral agreements such as the 1992 The Hague Joint Declaration, JASIG and CARHRIHL, and imposing preconditions such as prolonged, indefinite ceasefire during the talks.
Facts belie claims of GPH officials on termination of peace talks A presentation of the facts which transpired at the 25- 26 February 2013 meeting in Amsterdam between representatives of the government of the Philippines (GPH) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) belies the claims of GPH officials that the GPH terminated the formal peace talks and that the NDFP “killed” the special track. OPAPP Secretary Teresita Deles, GPH Negotiating Panel Chairperson Alexander Padilla and GPH Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda have made such claims. PRESS STATEMENT By LUIS G. JALANDONI Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel 03 May 2013
GPH, not NDFP, killed the Special Track On the morning of 26 February, there was a discussion of the inputs by the GPH representatives coming from their 20 February 2013 draft. This draft insisted on indefinite, simultaneous and unilateral ceasefires. It also declared that land reform and national industrialization were “ideologically charged” concepts. After that discussion, the GPH representatives abruptly left the meeting room.
Immediately, Royal Norwegian facilitator Ambassador Ture Lundh called for a sidebar meeting between him, Secretary Ronald Llamas and Professor Jose Maria Sison. Ambassador Ture Lundh asked both delegations to reconvene. Prof. Sison said the NDFP side would probably agree to reconvene if they would be able to present the NDFP Draft Agreement to Formulate the General Declaration. However, Secretary Ronald Llamas said he wanted to consult his principal. When Ambassador Lundh said he also wanted to consult his principal, Prof. Sison had to agree. He then gave copies to Llamas and Ture Lundh of the above-mentioned NDFP draft and the NDFP Initial and Partial Draft General Declaration on National Unity and Just Peace, both dated 26 February 2013.
OPAPP Sec Deles drags RNG facilitator to GPH side “In our discussion with our Norwegian facilitator [Lundh] last month when he was here in Manila, we mutually established that the NDF killed the special track that they had themselves proposed and that we are not going back to the regular track which is going nowhere.” OPAPP Sec Deles, “Is Aquino to blame for scuttled peace talks?” Manila Times May 4, 2013
Talks have not been terminated-- NDFP There was absolutely no talk about termination of the peace talks. Nor was there talk of the special track being killed GPH Presidential Spokesperson Lacierda's insistence that the NDFP has been informed of the termination of the peace talks is contradicted by the facts. He exposes his ignorance of the provision of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) which stipulates that a written notice of termination must be given. No such notice of termination has been given to the NDFP, which is the proper addressee of such notice of termination. The JASIG stipulates that only 30 days after receipt of the written notice, is the termination in effect. Furthermore, all immunity guarantees contained in the JASIG remain in full force even after such termination.
In view of the continuing statements of the Aquino regime, in particular GPH Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and OPAPP Secretary Teresita Deles, about terminating the peace talks with the NDFP, I reiterate the NDFP position that the GPH has not given any written notice of termination of the peace talks to the NDFP, which is the proper addressee of such notice. This is stipulated in the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) of 1995. Neither has the Royal Norwegian Government, the official Third Party Facilitator of the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations been informed by the GPH of any termination of peace negotiations with the NDFP. In an email letter to me in the afternoon of April 30, 2013, Ambassador Ture Lundh of the Royal Norwegian Foreign Ministry stated: “Let me be absolutely clear in stating that the GPH has neither officially nor unofficially informed me of any termination of peace negotiations with the NDFP.” - Luis Jalandoni, NDFP Negotiating Panel Chair
50 days after the GPH virtually terminated the negotiations: GPH has not sent a formal notice of termination to the NDFP nor to the RNG GPH has not given details nor clarified what “new approach” or “another framework” it intends or proposes for the negotiations. It has not gone farther nor deeper than mentioning the following – Local consultations – Local peace talks – Peace zones
Are these really “new approaches”? If “local consultations” are “new” does it mean that all the while GPH has not been consulting the grassroots? Whatever happened after the NUC consultations in 1992-93? “Local peace talks” were used by the GRP/GPH in the past to use amnesty and rehabilitation as bait for surrender, and to use fake surrenderees to make money. NPA local commands have declared they will abide by the NDFP policy that peace negotiations can only be held on the national level. Peace zones have always been opposed by the military first of all because they think these favor the NPA more than the government
Deles: “addressing the roots of the armed conflict on the ground” The “new approach” and “new framework” purportedly aims to “address the roots of the armed conflict on the ground”. Does it mean that it is only now that the GPH will start undertaking reforms that will address poverty, inequitable distribution of wealth, lack of democracy and social injustice on the ground? Is this not what GPH should have been doing from the start?
“addressing the roots of armed conflict on the ground”? There is nothing wrong with “addressing the roots of the armed conflict on the ground” if it means knowing the real situation and problems of the masses by integrating with them and joining them in their struggles. This will necessarily entail linking their struggles with the struggles of other sectors and communities, and linking the local problems – and solutions – to the national problems and solutions, instead of dealing with these in a piecemeal and isolated manner.
Linking local situations to the whole This is the challenge- and the opportunity --that faces you now. As you address the human rights and IHL situations and problems in your various sectors and communities, it is all the more important and imperative now to grasp how these are related to the national crisis, to the social, economic and political situation and problems outside your communities, and how your struggles can become or already are an integral part of the entire struggle of our people to address these problems and attain genuine freedom, democracy and social justice.
“Time to move the talks!” We, concerned peace advocates from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao earnestly call on the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to immediately resume the stalled peace talks. We view with deep concern the breakdown in the peace negotiations due to unresolved issues in both the regular and special tracks. The regular track which involves the formal talks on the substantive agenda has been on an impasse mainly over the release of detained NDFP consultants. The special track, which involves talks on a proposal for alliance and truce and is parallel and complementary to the regular track, is likewise stalled.
We believe that consistently honouring signed agreements builds on the trust imperative and the kind of peace architecture both Parties had mutually envisioned. Hence, we call for the immediate resumption of the formal peace talks in accordance with the Hague Joint Declaration and other bilateral agreements. The implementation of JASIG would provide conditions conducive to the resumption and continuation of the GPH- NDFP talks, specifically, safety and immunity guarantees for all those who participate in the talks, from either side. The full implementation of CARHRIHL and the reactivation of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) will help mitigate the impact of the armed conflict, deter human rights violations, provide redress to the victims and end the climate of impunity.
We are aware of the pressing need for social and economic reforms, which is the second item in the substantive agenda of the peace talks, geared to addressing the continuing hardships of our people, especially the poor and the oppressed. It is incumbent on both Parties to immediately return to the negotiating table and work at reaching an agreement on these urgent reforms. The two Parties are therefore urged to find ways and to take measures to resolve the issue on the release of detained NDFP consultants and thus break the current impasse.
We likewise urge the GPH and NDFP to resume talks on the special track to explore immediate and practical areas of cooperation such as upholding national sovereignty, agrarian reform and national industrialization alongside the cessation of armed hostilities. We have confidence that simultaneous discussions on both tracks can mutually enhance the prospects of reaching constructive agreements.
We believe that the resumption of the peace talks between the GPH and NDFP will redound to immediate as well as long term benefits for our people. We therefore commit ourselves to accompany the peace negotiations and contribute to the discussions on the substantive agenda in both regular and special tracks. We shall continue to undertake and support all efforts towards the attainment of a just and enduring peace throughout the land.
Time is of the essence. End the prolonged impasse. Resume the talks, now. SIGNATORIES: Sulong CARHRIHL Pilgrims for Peace Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform Waging Peace Philippines Generation Peace Youth Network Women Engaged in Action 1325 Initiatives for International Dialogue – IID Philippine Peace Center
Appendix 1: Rappler interview with Prof. Sison RAPPLER (RAP): Rappler recently interviewed head government negotiator Alexander Padilla. He said you want peace but not the CPP leadership in PH. Your comment, please? PROF SISON (JMS): The CPP, NPA and the NDFP are desirous of a just peace and want the peace negotiations to progress in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration as framework agreement and with all subsequent agreements. They take the position that in principle the peace negotiations are still going on in the absence of any side giving a formal notice of termination to the other side. However, it is the GPH side that has announced repeatedly to the press since April that is has terminated the peace negotiations with the NDFP. The CPP leadership has recently reiterated its trust in and support for the NDFP Negotiating Panel in which Luis Jalandoni is the Chairperson and to which I am the Chief Political Consultant. It is presumptuous for anyone in the GPH to determine the relationship of the CPP leadership in the Philippines with the NDFP Negotiating Panel.
RAP: Padilla also thinks that the peace process would never end, "that it was a process actually intended not for peace but to continue the war [and for them] to get concessions." At least on social media, people tend to share the same sentiment. How do you address this perception coming from a generation which is not familiar with the complexity of the peace talks? JMS: It is in fact the GPH that does not want the peace negotiations to continue. The NDFP cannot compel the GPH to go back to the negotiating panel. If the GPH merely wants war under its US- designed Oplan Bayanihan, the revolutionary forces and people have no choice but to defend themselves and defeat their enemy.
RAP: Perhaps the strongest reactions we gathered were related to the use of landmines - recent incidents that killed cops and soldiers. Do you feel that it's time to assess whether the NPA should continue using command detonated landmines? There had been reports of civilian casualties, or at the very least, they expose noncombatants to harm (i.e., if detonated along highways, roads) JMS: The use of command-detonated land mines by the NPA does not violate the Ottawa Treaty and its protocol. In this regard, the NDFP is well advised by an International Legal Advisory Team composed of prominent lawyers who are experts in international law. You complain against command-detonated land mines. But you do not complain against aerial bombs and artillery fire which are monopolized by the AFP and indiscriminately kill people.
RAP: Evelyn Pinated, mother of the slain SAF vehicle driver PO2 Elmark Rodney Pinated said the “devils” took her son away, and she wants them crushed. “The (NPA) must stop these senseless killings. They are killing those who are serving our people,” Elmark had married his girlfriend Grace only last October 8. She last talked to him over the celphone on May 20, her birthday, when he greeted her. What's your message to the grieving women? JMS: My message to any real or possible complainant against the NPA is to present the complaint to the NDFP section of the Joint Monitoring Committee (under the Comprehensive Agreement of Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) or to approach directly the people's democratic government, particularly the people's prosecutors and the people's courts. The officers and men of the AFP, PNP and paramilitary forces commit so many crimes against the people according to so many victims and families, the NDFP section of the JMC and domestic and international human rights organizations. You should also confront the GPH about these crimes committed by its armed personnel.
RAP: So does it really mean the end of the peace talks under the Aquino government? What will it take for you to talk to them again for the sake of peace? JMS: The absence of a formal notice of termination from the GPH to the NDFP can mean either one of two things: GPH arrogance and contempt for the JASIG or GPH allowing itself space to resume formal talks according to its own later judgment. The NDFP will be receptive to any signal or approach of the GPH or Aquino regime for resuming the formal talks. The NDFP expects from the GPH nothing more than compliance with existing agreements and the desire to move forward with the negotiations.
RAP: Padilla said "there is a constant fear on my part that the next echelon of leaders might not even be receptive to discussion or negotiations. Kung tatawagin ko—utak pulbura." What do you feel about his pessimism? JMS: The GPH or the Aquino regime has only itself to blame if it offers no other possibility than the continuance and intensification of the civil war. It should see that the way is still available for peace negotiations.
RAP: One of our interviewees, suggested a possible confidence-building step to resuming talks: a moratorium or a calibrated reduction on the NPA use of command- detonated landmines might be reciprocated by something just as significant (say a moratorium or calibrated reduction on the AFP use of artillery fire and/or air strikes) on the GPH side… Q: 1) Is this even feasible? ; 2) Would CPP/NPA/NDF be open to study/explore the proposal? JMS: The NDFP has long proposed to the GRP since 2005 to have an agreement of truce and alliance on the basis of a general declaration of common intent to realize full independence, democracy, and economic development through national industrialization and land reform. Such agreement can be made while the peace negotiations continue to take up the remaining three items in the substantive agenda. If there is such an agreement, the armed conflict ceases and there is no more need for land mines, aerial bombs and artillery fire or any other kind of weapon. While there is still armed conflict, the NPA needs land mines to deter the AFP and PNP from easily encroaching on the territory of the people's democratic government. Land mines are a poor man's weapon. Aerial bombing and artillery fire are weapons of those who oppress the people. Soliman Santos himself has written a number of times that command-detonated land mines are not prohibited by the Ottawa Treaty on land mines. CARHRIHL does not prohibit the same. And the people's democratic government (PDG) and its revolutionary forces are not bound by GPH laws.###
RAP2: In view of the recent statements of Alex Padilla in Rappler, are the peace talks already dead? Please comment on his statements JMS: It is Alex Padilla who says that the peace talks are dead. This may be true, especially during the Aquino regime, which has the illusion that it can destroy the revolutionary movement with the US-designed Oplan Bayanihan. But I believe that peace advocates will increasingly call for peace negotiations because of the worsening economic and social crisis, the growing strength of the revolutionary movement and the intensification of the civil war.
RAP2: “After assessing the behavior or the process itself, I was convinced that it was a process that would never end. That it was a process actually intended not for peace but to continue the war [and for them] to get concessions in the meantime,” Padilla said. JMS: The Aquino regime, its peace advisor Deles and chief negotiator Padilla have ensured that there are no more peace negotiations during the term of the regime because of the following: 1. Since the first formal talks in February 2011, they have vilified The Hague Joint Declaration as a "document of perpetual division" and have insulted the NDFP and previous regimes for making more than ten agreements, which include the now world famous Comprehensive Agreement of Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). 2. They have always misrepresented the NDFP demand for GRP or GPH compliance with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) as preconditioning the negotiations and have consistently refused to release under the JASIG any JASIG-protected political prisoner. 3. They have insisted that the Aquino regime is not bound by any GRP agreement with the NDFP and in effect it is useless to negotiate and make agreements with the GPH. 4. They always demand a kind of indefinite ceasefire that can allow the GPH to make unnecessary the continuance of peace negotiations on the substantive agenda. 5. They are the ones who have finally terminated the peace negotiations since April 2013 and have been so arrogant as not to give any formal notice of termination to the NDFP in accordance with the JASIG.
RAP2: Padilla said they were supposed to further discuss the “general declaration” in February when Sison gave the government panel a surprise: 3 new documents that pursued the “regular track,” which was the path that had led to deadlocks in the past. “After February, it was a complete impasse because Joma Sison wanted us to first terminate the conditional cash transfer, to finish the Oplan Bayanihan of the AFP, to stop all the Pamana efforts, to give land to 5 million landless farmers, etcetera before we can even move on to that next level,” Padilla said. JMS: The Amsterdam meeting of February 2013 was intended to pave the way for the so-called first historic meeting in Hanoi between Aquino as GRP president and myself as CPP founding chairman. This was supposed to be similar to the earlier Aquino-Murad meeting in Tokyo in August 2011. Presidential political adviser Ronald Llamas had proposed the Aquino-Sison meeting since November 2012 and became the subject of several meetings, with the participation of RNG special envoy Ture Lundh, before February 2013. At the Amsterdam meeting of February 2013, it was enough for the GPH and NDFP delegations to draft the communique for the projected Hanoi meeting. But the GPH delegation ignored the NDFP draft communique and insisted on limiting the discussion to the GPH draft declaration for "indefinite unilateral simultaneous ceasefires" and to the NDFP initial draft general declaration. The NDFP delegation immediately pointed out that the GPH demand for "indefinite unilateral simultaneous ceasefires" was somewhat confused and baseless and was diametrically opposed to the NDFP proposal for truce and alliance.
JMS (cont): The NDFP delegation declared that the most the Amsterdam meeting could accomplish in two or three days was to agree on the draft communique for the Hanoi meeting and start discussing inputs for the general declaration for truce and alliance which would entail several months of negotiations after the Hanoi meeting. To demonstrate to the GPH delegation how much more work was to be done in forging a general declaration on truce and alliance (or national unity and a just peace), the NDFP delegation showed to the GPH delegation a more developed NDFP draft of the aforesaid declaration. At this point, the GPH delegation did not want the meeting to go any further and declared that it would have to go back to its principal first.
RAP2 : “Definitely we don't want to return to the so-called regular track and as far as government is concerned they have killed the special track. So that's where we are right now,” Padilla said. JMS: The GPH cannot supplant the regular track of the peace negotiations with the special track, without violating The Hague Joint Declaration. The regular track is the sine qua non of the special track. The special track was merely a supplement to the regular track. It was meant to deal with the recurrent impertinent demands of the GRP or GPH for an indefinite ceasefire, which was properly an issue for consideration under the fourth and final item in the substantive agenda. The regular track can go on even without the special track. The NDFP has always made it clear since 2005 that it is willing to have a truce and alliance with the Manila government anytime on the basis of a general declaration of common intent to realise full national independence, democracy, economic development through national industrialization and genuine land reform and social justice. This offer was reiterated to the Aquino regime in February 2011. The NDFP made it clear that the offer can be realized on a special track, while the regular track of negotiations continues in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration.
RAP2: This is so unlike the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), he noted. “The MILF is an equally armed group, very strong, but they themselves believe that the peace process is part of the modes of trying to achieve just peace. The communists don't,” he explained. “They have been very very consistent that the peace process is but a means to an end and that end is to overthrow government and establish a national democratic state leading to a communist state eventually,” Padilla said. JMS: The NDFP and MILF have their respective outlooks, methodology and programs of political action. The NDFP have the best wishes for the MILF in trying to achieve a just and honorable peace for the benefit of the Moro people through peace negotiations. But we have observed lately that the Aquino regime is allowing Deles and the military to upset the GPH-MILF peace negotiations. The NDFP will continue to support the MILF if and when it decides to resume the armed struggle because the GPH does not comply with agreements. The MILF has been worried publicly by GPH turning its back on crucial points in their framework agreement. It still remains to be seen whether the Aquino regime can really make peace with the MILF.
RAP2: Padilla maintained that a “new approach” is needed. “It should be addressed by good governance, practically modernization, better roads, communications,” he said. JMS: The “new approach” of the US-directed Aquino regime is above all the combat, intelligence and psywar operations under the US-designed Oplan Bayanihan. The dole-out schemes and graft-ridden and delayed public works projects are futile attempts at psywar. In the absence of peace negotiations, the revolutionary forces and broad masses of the people expect from the Aquino regime more brutal campaigns of military suppression and more deception through false claims of good governance, peace and development.
RAP2: But Padilla said he fears that the CPP’s next generation of leaders would become more violent. “... There is a constant fear on my part that the next echelon of leaders might not even be receptive to discussion or negotiations. Kung tatawagin ko—utak pulbura (war freak), ” he said. JMS: Padilla is correct in anticipating more resistance from the revolutionary forces and their leaders. If there are no more peace negotiations because the GPH does not want them, then indeed the revolutionary leadership and the masses can concentrate on advancing the people's from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate. The worsening crisis of global capitalism and the domestic ruling system of the big compradors and landlords like Aquino is inflicting terrible suffering on the people and inciting them to fight for their national and social liberation. The New People's Army has the critical mass to intensify and expand its tactical armed offensives. At the same time, the organs of political power, the mass organizations and the local branches of the CPP are growing fast.###
Appendix 2: The Hague Joint Declaration 1.Formal peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDF shall be held to resolve the armed conflict. 2.The common goal of the aforesaid negotiations shall be the attainment of a just and lasting peace. 3.Such negotiations shall take place after the parties have reached tentative agreements on substantive issues in the agreed agenda through the reciprocal working committees to be separately organized by the GRP and the NDF. 4.The holding of peace negotiations must be in accordance with mutually acceptable principles, including national sovereignty, democracy and social justice and no precondition shall be made to negate the inherent character and purpose of the peace negotiations.
The Hague Joint Declaration (cont) 5.The substantive agenda of the formal peace negotiations shall include the following: 1. Respect for human rights and international humanitarian law; 2. Socio-economic reforms; 3. Political and constitutional reforms; and 4. End of hostilities and disposition of forces