Resist peace-spoiling by US stooges

Communist Party of the Philippines
April 4, 2017

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) congratulates the NDFP and GRP Negotiating Panels for successfully pushing through with the opening of the fourth round of peace negotiations yesterday despite the peace-spoiling by stooges of US imperialism in the military establishment. To support the talks, the Party calls on the Filipino people to reject these US stooges and resist their efforts to spoil the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations.

These US stooges, mainly Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and Gen. Eduardo Año, are acting in behalf of US imperialism, in seeking to derail the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations with the long-term aim of keeping the country in a perpetual state of economic backwardness, people’s unrest and civil war.

On April 1, just before the 4th round of peace negotiations could start, Lorenzana issued vitriolic statements and foisted demands contradictory to the spirit of the March 11 GRP-NDFP Joint Statement. Lorenzana and his ilk in the AFP insisted that the fourth round of peace talks be devoted to forge a bilateral ceasefire, in the hope of preempting negotiations on the more pressing questions of socio-economic reforms.

Echoing the line of the US stooges, GRP President Duterte put forward more conditions prior to the fourth round of talks, thus pushing it to the brink. The fourth round of talks proceeded yesterday only because of the openness of the NDFP Negotiating Panel to discuss the possibility of a joint unilateral ceasefire and the flexibility of both sides in setting the agenda of the talks.

US imperialism opposes substantive agreements
Lorenzana and his fellow US stooges are trying to prevent peace negotiations from moving forward in efforts to discuss and resolve the substantive socio-economic issues, especially the most crucial issues of genuine land reform and national industrialization. They also want to prevent negotiations on political and constitutional reforms where the question of national sovereignty will be a critical matter.

The three fascist stooges serve US big arms and weapons industry, its big capitalist trade and investment interests in the Philippines and its local partners among big business (the Zobels and Ayalas) and the big landlords (including the Aquino-Cojuangcos).

They are bent on keeping the Philippines as an exclusive dominion of US imperialism, preventing it from exercising an independent foreign policy to engage in economic, diplomatic and military relations with other countries. They serve the aim of the US imperialists to secure its hegemony in the country in the face of rising challenges in the context of a multipolar world.

On Lorenzana terror-tagging
Lorenzana insists on the worn-out US terrorist tagging against the CPP and NPA to misrepresent the revolutionary forces, draw attention away from the fundamental socio-economic issues and put to question the very basis of peace negotiations between the NDFP and the GRP

This goes against the January unilateral move of the GRP Negotiating Panel which formally asked the US to remove NDFP Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Ma. Sison from its terrorist listing. Indeed, the conduct of the peace negotiations itself, facilitated by the Royal Norwegian Government, is the most glaring negation of Lorenzana’s terrorist tagging of the revolutionary forces.

Lorenzana’s terror tagging the CPP and NPA is also a vain attempt to cover up the rapidly piling cases of terrorist war crimes of the AFP in the conduct of aerial bombardments, shellings and killings of peasant activists over the past few weeks.

US wants AFP to wage all-out war
Lorenzana et al are more interested in waging an all-out war against the Filipino people in order to suppress their struggle to end US imperialism and attain national liberation. By having the AFP wage all-out war, the US military industry is assured that the country will continue to purchase helicopters and jet fighters from the US and US-affiliated corporations to drop US-made bombs and carry out armed suppression against peasant communities and the ancestral land of minority people. This is the same case across the globe today, where the US government has instigated or carried out bombings and wars such as in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Nigeria and elsewhere.

In just the past few days, the AFP has been on an aerial bombardment campaign in Mindoro, Agusan del Norte and Davao Oriental. Aerial bombing runs have also been conducted in Abra, Agusan del Sur, Sarangani, Davao and other provinces. Just recently, armed AFP troops have occupied Barangay Baglay in Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental, as well as other villages in Abra, Marilog, Sultan Kudarat, Mindoro.

General Año must be made to answer for the successive killings by his men of civilians Renel Mirabeles of Bagong Silang, Sipocot, Camarines Sur (March 30), Jeffrey Santos of Barangay Tagbinonga, Mati, Davao Oriental (March 30) and Danilo Nadal of Barangay Tibagun, Pantukan, Compostela Valley (April 2). Since February, close to 50 peasants and members of the national minority, mostly residents of areas which the state security forces suspect to be part of the NPA mass base, have been killed by operating troops of the AFP.

In waging aerial bombardments and a campaign of armed suppression against the poeple, they are, however, succeeding only in convincing thousands of people to support and join the New People’s Army.

Reject militarist framework of US stooges
The CPP calls on the Filipino people to urge the Duterte regime to reject the war-freak mindset of the three US stooges and push the peace negotiations to tackle the substantive issues of socio-economic reforms and not derail the process by insisting on a premature bilateral ceasefire without prior agreements on substantive socio-economic and political reforms.

For peace talks to continue moving forward, GRP President Duterte must reject the insistence of the militarists to prematurely push a bilateral ceasefire agreement even before agreements on substantive issues are forged. Discussions on the more crucial socio-economic issues, which the GRP panel also consider as the meat of the negotiations, should not be preempted.

The CPP and all revolutionary forces calls for acceleration of negotiations to forge an agreement on comprehensive socio-economic reforms which are at the root of the armed conflict. A bilateral ceasefire can be discussed as a consequence of the CASER and CAPCR.

NDFP, GRP determined to resolve snags, move talks forward

NDFP Media Office
Press Release
3 April 2017

The fourth round of formal peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) formally opened this morning at Noordwijk, The Netherlands, with both Parties expressing determination to resolve current problems and move the talks forward.

Shaky start
The talks were off to a shaky start, with the formal opening postponed twice–first to give the GRP panel time for internal caucus, and second for the two Parties to hold informal discussions on a bilateral interim ceasefire agreement. The fourth round of talks should have opened yesterday morning, as agreed upon in the Rome talks last January and affirmed in the 11 March 2017 Utrecht Joint Statement.

The GRP and NDFP panels last night agreed to go ahead with the formal opening today and continue talks this afternoon on the bilateral ceasefire. At the open forum, both Parties declined to comment on questions regarding the status of the talks on the bilateral interim ceasefire, preferring to wait for the final outcome at the end of this round of talks.

The atmosphere of uncertainty comes in the wake of the impasse last February after GRP Pres. Rodrigo Duterte cancelled the talks after the New People’s Army lifted its unilateral ceasefire. Duterte also ordered the rearrest of Philippine-based NDFP consultants released on bail in order to participate in the talks. One of the consultants, Mindanao-based Ariel Arbitrario, was arrested at a checkpoint in Davao City on February 5 following Duterte’s verbal orders. He was released on 29 March and is part of the NDFP delegation for this round.

The talks resumed after backchannel talks were held in Utrecht, The Netherlands last 10-11 March. Both Parties agreed to work on a bilateral ceasefire agreement in the fourth round. Meantime, they agreed to reinstate their respective unilateral ceasefires.

However, the GRP announced last 31 March that it would no longer declare a unilateral ceasefire, saying it would push for a bilateral ceasefire agreement ahead of further talks on other items in the agenda.

Common ground on social and economic reforms
In his opening remarks, Prof. Jose Ma. Sison, the NDFP’s chief political consultant, highlighted the importance of the ongoing negotiations for a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), observing that the parties’ respective drafts have enough concurrences and similar positions as common ground to be able to forge an agreements by yearend. He stressed, however, that as a matter of principle, CASER must be a step ahead of the joint ceasefire agreement being demanded by the GRP, unless both can be signed at the same time.

NDFP panel chair Fidel Agcaoili shared Professor Sison’s positive views and reiterated the wisdom of securing the approval of the CASER ahead of any single joint ceasefire agreement. He noted that ceasefires are just a means to an end, with their main purpose being to create conditions conducive to reaching agreements on basic reforms that are satisfactory to both sides.

Violations of rights accord
Agcaoili moreover raised the NDFP’s concerns over the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) signed in 1998, citing, among others, the promised release of 19 ailing and elderly political prisoners, the continued detention of six NDFP consultants, the unresolved cases of enforced disappearance and murder of JASIG-protected personnel under the Arroyo regime, and escalating military operations that terrorize communities. He cited statistics from the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, stating that up to 46 farmers have been killed under the Duterte government, half of them after the AFP declared its all-out war policy last February 2.

Agcaoili, however, acknowledged the progress made by the Duterte government in providing compensation to victims of the Marcos dictatorship.

Finally, he expressed appreciation for the efforts exerted by the Royal Norwegian Government as Third Party Facilitator, in helping the parties overcome the obstacles and realize the continuation of the formal talks as scheduled. ###

NDFP RWC-SER alarmed with escalating killing of farmers engaged in agrarian struggles

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms (RWC-SER) has expressed utmost concern and alarm with the series of extrajudicial killings of farmers and peasant activists actively engaged in agrarian struggles.

The fourth round of talks is underway when reports came in on the killing of farmer-activist Danilo Nadal, 37 years old, a member of Hugpong sa Mag-uuma sa Pantukan (HUMAPAN). Based on initial reports, Nadal was shot and killed while on board his single motorcycle in Barangay Tibagon in Pantukan, Compostela Valley last April 2. Nadal reportedly sustained ten gunshot wounds. He is active in land struggles and campaign against human rights violations and militarization of peasant communities. Perpetrators are suspected agents of the 46th IBPA operating in Compostela Valley.

He is the 11th farmer killed in Compostela Valley, bringing to 47 the number of farmers, indigenous people and workers killed under the Duterte administration.

This latest incident of agrarian-related killing happened days after farmers called the government’s attention on the successive killings of peasant leaders and farmers which escalated after the termination of the unilateral ceasefire agreements and as a direct result of Armed Forces of the Philippines’ all-out war declaration against the CPP-NPA that also indiscriminately targets and harms civilians.

Violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Law (CARHRIHL) including but not limited to political killings, human rights violations and massive evacuation of peasant communities due to intense military operations will be raised as ‘urgent matters of concern’ by the NDFP panel to its GRP counterpart during the formal talks.

RWC-SER Consultant Randall Echanis said there is a need to accelerate discussion on the provisions of CASER’s agrarian reform and rural development to address landlessness and agrarian unrest.

The NDFP RWC-SER will propose the free land distribution of the following: lands targeted by government for distribution, big landholdings and land estates including haciendas that are under the control of private individuals or entities, disputed lands with local agrarian reform and peasant struggles and lands already occupied by farmers through various forms of land cultivation and collective farming activities.

Echanis said the breaking up of land monopolies and free land distribution are just, necessary and urgent corrective measures to the centuries-old social injustices suffered by farmers as a result of exploitative relations of production. During the third round of talks, the GRP agreed on principle to free land distribution but both reciprocal working committees are expected in this round to work intensively to come up with a common agreement.

Fourth round of talks focus on socio-economic reforms, ceasefire

NDFP Media Office | Press statement
3 April 2017

The fourth round of talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) will focus on socio-economic reforms and ceasefire.

In the agreed schedule released by the panels late this afternoon, the talks stretching from 3 to 6 April will include four bilateral meetings of the Reciprocal Working Committees of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (RWC-CASER) and three bilateral meetings of the Ceasefire Committees.

The series of RWC-SER meetings are aimed at reconciling the NDFP and GRP drafts on the section on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, covering the contentious issues of land distribution.

In his opening remarks, NDFP chief political consultant Jose Ma. Sison called on the panels to rectify Philippine land reform laws which he branded as “bogus” due to their limited scope and land amortization requirements which could not be afforded by landless tillers.

Sison said that land that has been grabbed from indigenous peoples and poor settlers, especially in logged-over areas should be distributed for free, and so should idle or abandoned lands. However, he clarified that landlords who did not acquire their lands through land-grabbing can be compensated in cash and industrial bonds.

As early as the third round, the GRP had declared that it agreed in principle to the free distribution of land.

The ceasefire committee meetings will tackle the NDFP’s counter-proposals to the GRP’s draft bilateral ceasefire agreement. A meeting on the bilateral ceasefire agreement scheduled for 22 February failed to push through after the peace talks’ cancellation earlier that month.

In addition to CASER and ceasefire, there is a meeting scheduled on the status of implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) signed in 1998. The NDFP has raised several concerns regarding the CARHRIHL, including escalating militarization in the countryside that has resulted in the killing of more than 40 peasant leaders and activists under the Duterte government.

Opening speech for the fourth round of talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations

Noordwijk an Zee, The Netherlands 3 April 2017
By Fidel V. Agcaoili
Chairperson Negotiating Panel of the NDF

Your Excellencies from the Royal Norwegian Government, specifically Special Envoy Ambassador Elisabeth Slattum and her team of facilitators,
Compatriots in The Netherlands and the Negotiating Panels and Delegations of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP),
Esteemed guests,

I think it is significant to note that the fourth round of formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations opens on the heels of the 48th founding anniversary of the New People’s Army (NPA). On March 29, just four days ago, the NPA, the armed force of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which is an allied organization of the NDFP, marked its 48th year of revolutionary armed struggle.

Today, we have new generations of Filipinos, spread across the country, taking up arms to address the same basic problems that have hounded our history as a people – poverty, inequity, injustice, oppression. The resilience of the NPA is as much a testament to the inexhaustible participation and support of the people as it is an indictment of the failure of the system and its successive governments to address the socio-economic roots of the armed conflict.

This is why the NDFP Negotiating Panel comes to this fourth round of formal talks determined as ever to push and accelerate the negotiations in the hopes of forging a comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms by the end of 2017.

The NDFP’s chief political consultant, Prof. Jose Ma. Sison, has already raised key points of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms or the CASER in rela- tion to a roadmap for the peace process.

I share Professor Sison’s positive views and reiterate the wisdom of securing the approval of the CASER ahead of any bilateral ceasefire agreement, unless both agreements can be signed simultaneously. It is important to stress this as the issue of ceasefire should not be pursued as an end in itself.

Ceasefires, whether unilateral or bilateral, are just a means to an end. Its main purpose is to create conditions conducive to reaching agreements on basic re- forms that are satisfactory to both sides.

However, let me note that the NDFP rues the GRP’s sudden announcement not to restore its unilateral ceasefire, which is an unexpected departure from the March 11 backchannel agreement. Yet the NDF Negotiating Panel, in the spirit of flexibility and openness, desirous of fostering a positive climate for continuing the peace talks and building on the gains achieved in the last three rounds, is willing to discuss with its counterpart what kind of bilateral ceasefire agreement is desired by the GRP in place of the unilateral ceasefire.

The NDFP believes it is possible to have a bilateral ceasefire agreement that conforms to the position that simultaneous and reciprocal declarations of unilateral ceasefire can be agreed upon and bound by a Memorandum of Understanding that shall be issued at the end of the fourth round of formal talks.

We trust and hope that our counterparts in the GRP side will be as open and resolute in ad- dressing the long drawn-out issues concerning the implementation of an already existing agreement – the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law or CARHRIHL.

These outstanding issues concern the promised release of 19 ailing and elderly political prisoners; the continued detention of six NDFP consultants—four arrested under the Arroyo regime and two under the Duterte government; the unresolved cases of enforced disappearance and murder of JASIG-protected NDFP personnel during the Arroyo regime; escalating military operations that terrorize communities under the guise of peace and development projects of Oplan Bayanihan; human rights violations and lack of due process in the anti-drugs campaign; and the political rehabilitation of the Marcos family, among others.

In relation to escalating militarization in the countryside, 46 farmers have already been killed under the Duterte administration, according to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilip- inas. Fifty percent of these killings were perpetrated following the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ implementation of an “all-out war” policy on February 2, or a rate of one farmer killed every two days.

On the other hand, the NDFP welcomes the progress made in the issue of compensation for victims of martial law and hopes that the process of indemnifying the victims can be further accelerated to ensure that justice is rendered to the victims.

Before I end, on behalf of the NDFP Panel, I sincerely thank the Royal Norwegian Govern- ment for its continuing and crucial support to the peace negotiations, especially as these took a difficult turn in the last two months. It was a wrenching experience for the NDFP consultants in the Philippines as they faced intensified harassment and imminent arrest, with one consultant actually being jailed. We commend the RNG for walking the extra mile to push the backchannel talks and put the peace process back on track.

Today, we welcome back arrested NDFP consultant Ariel Arbitrario into our fold, and we hope that no more such arbitrary incidents will recur to obstruct the advance of the peace process under the Duterte administration.

We look forward to fruitful discussions in the next four days in the common effort to find solutions to seal an enduring and just peace for our country through mutually acceptable comprehensive agreements on necessary reforms.

Thank you, and a good morning to all.

Remarks at the opening ceremonies of the 4th round of formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant, NDFP Negotiating Panel
Noordwijk aan Zee, The Netherlands
03 April 2017

Her Excellency Elisabeth Slattum, Special Envoy to the Philippine Peace Process,
Hon. Secretary Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Hon. Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Chairperson, Negotiating Panel of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP)
Comrade Fidel V. Agcaoili, Chairperson, Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)
Dear compatriots in the GRP and NDFP Panels and Delegations
Distinguished guests and friends from various countries,

As Chief Political Consultant of the National Democratic Front in the peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, I welcome you to this opening ceremony of the 4th round of peace talks as agreed upon in the 3rd round of talks in Rome on January 25, 2017. I thank you for your attendance and for your interest in the process to resolve the 48-year long civil war in the Philippines and establish a just and lasting peace.

We all are highly appreciative of both the GRP and NDFP principals and their respective negotiating panels in their determination to pursue the peace negotiations for the benefit of the Filipino people and in accordance with their own demand for peace, national unity and reconciliation. We have therefore been able to overcome some challenges, communication glitches and hitches.

President Duterte has been gracious to let the GRP negotiators go to the backchannel talks of March 10 and 11 in Utrecht and now to the fourth round of formal talks. The NDFP is most interested in the soonest possible forging of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms to respond to the people’s demand for substantive reforms. By its own public pronouncement, the GRP is most interested in obtaining a bilateral ceasefire agreement with the NDFP.

This is soon possible if President Duterte can put forward the amnesty and release of all political prisoners listed by the NDFP. The GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels can validate and bind declarations of unilateral ceasefire as the interim bilateral ceasefire agreement in the Joint Statement to be issued at the end of the fourth round, pending the forging of a single joint ceasefire agreement co-signed by the conflicting parties. This joint ceasefire agreement, more elaborate and more stable than the interim bilateral ceasefire agreement can be immediately consequent to the signing of CASER by the two Negotiating Panels.

We are desirous that through the peace negotiations we can create and develop the conditions to build a strong sovereign and independent nation, with expanded democracy and social justice for the oppressed and exploited people, enjoying the bounty of economic and social development through genuine land reform, national industrialization, ample social services and benefits, and solidarity with all peoples and countries.

The GRP-NDFP peace negotiations are necessary to address the roots of the armed conflict and to agree on the social, economic, political and constitutional reforms in order to lay the basis for a just and lasting peace. We are clearly advancing within the framework set by The Hague Joint Declaration on September 1, 1992. I mention the date to let you anticipate and prepare for the 25th anniversary of this historic document.

The GRP and NDFP have availed of and reaffirmed the major agreements that have been forged within the framework of The Hague Joint Declaration in order to overcome problems and even disruptions and impasses in the peace process.

So far, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) as the first item in the substantive agenda had been approved and signed by the GRP and NDFP principals since 1998. It is within the broad framework of international law, especially the International Bill of Rights and the Geneva Conventions.

I continue to be optimistic that within this year, it is possible for the GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels to forge and sign the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) and the consequent joint ceasefire agreement. I have read and studied the drafts of the proposed agreements from the GRP and NDFP and I have also examined the comparative matrices. I observe that there are enough concurrences and similar positions as common ground for forging the agreements. But I wish to stress as a matter of principle that the people demand that CASER be a step ahead of the joint ceasefire agreement, unless these agreements can be signed at the same time by the panels and then by the principals.

The Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms (CAPCR) can be forged and signed by the panels within three months after CASER because the drafting is already done in advance by the Reciprocal Working Groups on CAPCR. As I stated previously, the NDFP is willing to co-found the Federal Republic of the Philippines with the GRP and cooperate in making the necessary amendments in the 1987 GRP Constitution, provided provisions are retained to prevent dictatorship, dynasties and corruption, uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity, respect human rights, realize social justice and ban foreign military bases, forces and weapons of mass destruction.

The Reciprocal Working Committees on CASER can proceed to unify their respective drafts at an accelerated pace during rounds of formal talks and work meetings of bilateral teams between said rounds. After signing by the panels and principals, the ultimate common draft should be the guide and framework of executive orders and legislation to carry out genuine land reform, lay the foundation of national industrialization, ensure the protection of the environment and wise utilization of natural resources, uphold the people’s rights, improve the wage and living conditions, expand the social services (especially free public education at all levels and free public hospitals and clinics) and develop international economic relations within the context of an independent foreign policy.

All previous land reform programs in the Philippines are bogus because the scope is limited and the landless tillers cannot pay for the redistribution price. It is necessary that this early the negotiating parties find out how much land has been grabbed under various pretexts for so many decades from the indigenous people and poor settlers, especially in logged over areas.

Such land can be returned for free to millions of rightful owners and their successors who also need to be provided with credit, technical assistance and infrastructure support to increase production and cooperation in agriculture and related occupations like handicraft, animal husbandry, poultry, fishing, forestry, horticulture, arboculture and food processing.

Idle or abandoned agricultural lands are almost always the result of violent conflict between the landgrabbers and the dispossessed tillers and must be returned to the latter as the rightful owners. In cases of land expropriation, landlords who did not acquire their lands through land-grabbing can be paid in cash to a certain extent and in larger part in industrial bonds for investing in the industries.

The backbone of feudalism and land-grabbing by bureaucrats and corporations must be broken. It is a matter of social justice that such principle of voluntary sale by the landlord under the 1987 GRP Constitution as well as the equivalence of just compensation to fair market value under EO 228 (July 17, 1987) must be nullified. The stock distribution option in the CARP law must be struck down as a device of corporate swindle, as we have seen in Hacienda Luisita and elsewhere.

With increased agricultural and related production and development in the rural areas, the domestic market for industrial production expands in a self-reliant economy. We can begin in earnest to break the vicious cycle and chronic crisis of underdevelopment, unemployment and poverty. The pattern of exporting raw materials, semi-manufactures and cheap labor, importing finished products and depending on foreign loans and portfolio investments from abroad to cover trade deficits must be broken. We must lay down the foundation for our national industry, process our own natural resources and prevent the extreme and rapid loss of these and the devastation of our environment.

We must reclaim our economic sovereignty, conserve our national patrimony and carry out an independent investment and trade policy, realize the substance of national sovereignty, put in the principal position the combination and cooperation of the public sector and the private sector of Filipino entrepreneurs and managers and put into full play the Filipino scientists, engineers, technologists and mass of workers. We resort to foreign suppliers of capital goods and a minority of foreign investors only to effect needed technology transfer within reasonable periods of time.

The GRP and NDFP must cooperate to achieve the social, economic, political and constitutional reforms that the people need. These require the agencies, documentation and public funding that the GRP can provide. They also require the GRP and NDFP to form a Joint Social and Economic Council to ensure the implementation of CASER. The most important role of the NDFP and its revolutionary components is to avail of their long intimate relations with the people and their ability to further arouse, organize and mobilize the people for the adoption and implementation of reforms, especially against the forces of imperialism and the local reactionaries.

I hope that my remarks can somehow help to illuminate and accelerate the forging of the CASER and CAPCR. If these are indeed signed by the principals soon enough, we might even be able to see their initial two years of implementation before the signing of the End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces by the principals.

Thank you.

On non-declaration of ceasefire, peace talks and AFP crimes

Communist Party of the Philippines
April 1, 2017

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) did not proceed to issue a declaration of interim ceasefire yesterday, after the GRP announced that it will not issue a similar ceasefire declaration. The issuance of ceasefire declarations was supposed to be done reciprocally as agreed upon by the NDFP and GRP in the their March 11 statement Joint Statement.

In an earlier statement, the CPP had expressed willingness to comply with this agreement. In response, GRP President Duterte said he had to consult with national security and military officials about issuing a reciprocal ceasefire declaration. It can only be surmised that he heeded the advise of AFP officials on the matter.

Support for fourth round of talks even without ceasefire
The CPP fully supports the scheduled 4th round of NDFP-GRP peace negotiations slated for April 2-6 despite the non-issuance of ceasefire declarations by either side. The Party looks forward to fruitful discussions and positive steps towards forging an agreement on socio-economic reforms as well as political and constitutional reforms.

The CPP anticipates that the question of free land distribution to the tillers, the most pressing social justice issue in the country, will be fully addressed in the talks. The CPP also anticipates intense discussions and debates on the people’s demand for national industrialization, as well as expansion of public services, versus the insistence of the GRP to pursue the neoliberal policies of liberalization, privatization and deregulation.

Rally against AFP intensified attacks on civilians
The CPP anticipates heightened attacks by the AFP against civilians in light of Duterte’s non-declaration of ceasefire. Over the past three days alone, the AFP have carried out the following fascist crimes against civilians:

On March 29, 100 soldiers of the 58th IB entered Sitio Camansi, Barangay Banglay, Lagonglong town, Misamis Oriental and encamped in the Lumad community. Thirty six families (187 individuals) were forced to evacuate and seek sanctuary in Cagayan de Oro.

On March 30, elements of the 9th ID entered Sitio Traktora, Bagong Silang, Sipocot, Camarines Sur and without provocation strafed several people who were at the waiting shed, killing resident Renel Mirabeles and severely injuring Joseph Sagario and Regie Loprandado. Another civilian, Erick Madrona, was accosted and later accused of being a member of the NPA. To cover-up the attack against the civilians, military PR officials churned out the fake news that the shooting of the civilians was an encounter with the NPA.

In another incident on March 30, elements of the 203rd Infantry Brigade used helicopters to drop at least 16 bombs on sitios Karumata and Kalungbuyan, in Barangay Benli, Bulalacao town, Oriental Mindoro endangering the lives of the Hanunuo Mangyan communities in the area.

Also on March 30, soldiers of the 28th and 66th IB killed a peasant resident of Tagbinonga, Mati City, Davao Oriental, after they encountered the NPA in the area. The peasant was on his way to the town center to sell copra when he was waylaid by AFP soldiers. In press releases, the AFP claims the peasant was a member of the NPA, something which his family disputes.

The Party calls on the people to rally and protest the extrajudicial killings, aerial bombings, occupation of communities, forcible evacuations, hamletting and other fascist criminal attacks perpetrated by the AFP against the peasant masses. Expose the AFP for propagating lies and fake news to cover up their crimes.

NPA is duty-bound to defend the people
In light of AFP intensified attacks against civilians, the New People’s Army (NPA) is duty-bound to punish the perpetrators of these fascsit crimes and carry out offensives to disable the AFP from carrying out further attacks and armed suppression against the civilians.

The NPA must take full initiative in order to defend the people’s interests, protect their livelihood and the environment against destructive enterprises and ensure that economic ventures comply with policies that uphold the people’s welfare.

The NPA must continue to help the people wage struggles for genuine land reform, fight feudal exactions and various forms of oppression and help them raise agricultural production.

The NPA must open its doors wide open in order to accomodate the large numbers of people who want to join the armed struggle in their aspiration to attain justice and work to end the prevailing social system.

NDFP willing to be flexible regarding bilateral ceasefire

NDFP Media Office
Press Statement
Fidel V. Agcaoili
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
31 March 2017

The GRP’s last minute announcement not to restore its unilateral ceasefire constitutes an unexpected departure from the March 11 backchannel agreement where both parties agreed to simultaneously reinstate their respective unilateral ceasefires before the start on April 2 of the fourth round of peace talks. The NDF and the GRP agreed to this measure in the interim in order to move the talks forward and improve the atmosphere for negotiations after the impasse last February.

Because the GRP negotiating panel is coming to the Netherlands for the fourth round of formal talks, the NDFP negotiating panel is willing to be flexible and is open to discussing with its counterpart what kind of bilateral ceasefire agreement is desired by the GRP in place of the unilateral ceasefire.

The NDFP believes it is possible at the soonest time to have a bilateral ceasefire agreement that conforms to the position that simultaneous and reciprocal declarations of unilateral ceasefire can be agreed upon and bound by the Joint Statement at the end of the fourth round of formal talks.

The NDFP is one with the GRP in desiring to resolve the serious concerns that have been raised in relation to the previous six-month unilateral ceasefires, mindful that addressing these issues is crucial to ensuring that any ceasefire agreement in the future would be more effective.

Meanwhile, both parties will continue to hammer out a single joint ceasefire document that will take a longer time to forge in conjunction with the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) and the amnesty and release of all political prisoners as listed by the NDFP.

The NDFP is fully prepared to craft a draft common agreement with the GRP on socio-economic reforms before the end of the year.###

Fidel V. Agcaoili