Joint Statement on the Successful Fourth Round of Formal Talks between the GRP and the NDFP

April 6 2017, Noorwijk Aan Zee, The Netherlands

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UTRECHT JOINT STATEMENT

We, representatives from the GRP Negotiating Panel and the NDFP Negotiating Panel held informal talks on 10-11 March 2017, in Utrecht, The Netherlands, with the Royal Norwegian Government acting as host and Third Party Facilitator, and agreed as follows:

JOINT STATEMENT ON THE SUCCESSFUL THIRD ROUND OF FORMAL TALKS BETWEEN THE GRP AND NDFP IN ROME, ITALY

The Negotiating Panels of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), together with their respective delegations of negotiating bodies, consultants, advisors, resource persons, cooperators and staff successfully held the third round of formal talks in Rome City from January 19 to 25, 2017. The third round was facilitated by the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) in cooperation with the Italian Government.

At the opening ceremonies on January 19, RNG Ambassador to the Philippines Erik Førner and RNG Special Envoy to the Philippine Peace Process Elisabeth Slåttum welcomed the two delegations. They commended the two Parties for their hard work in the second round of the formal talks in Oslo and reiterated the commitment of the RNG of its continuing support to the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

The opening statements of the two Parties were made by the following: GRP OPAPP Secretary Jesus G. Dureza, NDFP Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison, GRP Negotiating Panel Chairperson Silvestre H. Bello III, NDFP Negotiating Panel Chairperson Fidel V. Agcaoili and RNG Special Envoy Ambassador Elisabeth Slåttum.

In her opening statement, RNG Special Envoy to the Philippine Peace Process, Ambassador Elisabeth Slattum, congratulated both Panels for their commitment in working for peace in the country. She commended the two sides for declaring their respective unilateral indefinite ceasefires. The Ambassador reiterated the RNG’s commitment to be with the two Parties for the duration of the peace negotiations.

The Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Secretary Jesus G. Dureza after thanking the RNG passed on part of his speaking turn to GRP Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr., who expressed his support to the peace process. Sec. Yasay also expressed his admiration for Professor Joma Sison and his elation for having met with him personally.

In his opening statement, Professor Sison expressed his continued declaration that the two Panels can negotiate in a non-adversarial way and overcome any obstacle by addressing the root causes of the armed conflict. He also acknowledged his appreciation for last year’s release of detained NDFP consultants and the expectation for the release of the hundreds of political prisoners. Further, he cited that the concurrent or reciprocal unilateral declarations of ceasefire by the GRP and NDFP can easily be turned into a more stable bilateral ceasefire upon the release of all political prisoners by the GRP in compliance with the CARHRIHL. He likewise expressed NDFP’s concerns on the burial of former President Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani and violation of the CARHRIHL and the ceasefire.

Professor Sison was hopeful that within six months the CASER shall already be ready for signing, while the NDFP views political and constitutional reforms can take good and viable examples from both unitary and federal forms of state. He said that the NDFP can go along with President Duterte’s proposal for a federal form of government provided certain safeguards were put in place like the prohibition of puppetry, dictatorship, graft and corruption, dynasty building and warlordism.
He pointed out the advantage of having the CASER and CAPCR signed and approved by the principals within the first two years of the Duterte Government is that these agreements shall be implemented for at least two years before the end of said government. If implemented to the satisfaction of the Filipino people and the NDFP, these agreements shall lay the full basis of the Comprehensive Agreement on End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces as early as 2020-2021.

On the part of the GRP Panel Chairperson, Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, he expressed the readiness of the Panel to exchange and discuss the Government’s draft agreements on CASER, CAPCR and CAEHDF, through its Working Committee/Groups, and finalize the Supplemental Guidelines for the full operation of the Joint Monitoring Committee of the CARHRIHL as well as the draft agreement on the bilateral ceasefire. Secretary Bello also expressed the readiness of the Panel to discuss and address the issues confronting the talks such as prisoner release, implementation of the reconstructed JASIG list and the amnesty proclamation. He capped his statement by thanking the support of the RNG Third Party Facilitator, and expressed his expectation for a cordial but frank, rigorous but productive discussions.

The NDFP Panel Chairperson, Fidel V. Agcaoili, declared the NDFP Panel’s readiness to push the negotiations forward and even accelerate the process of forging mutually acceptable comprehensive agreements on the most important topics of socio-economic reforms and political and constitutional reforms. He noted however, certain serious obstacles that are needed to be hurdled if mutual trust and confidence are to be maintained so that negotiations can move forward. He repeatedly raised the issue of the release of all the NDFP-listed prisoners, and expressed appreciation for the support of the RNG to the peace talks.

Before going into the first item on the agenda of the third round of formal talks, a delegation from both Parties met to discuss certain outstanding issues and concrete measures to facilitate the peace negotiations. They discussed the issues of release of political prisoners and of socio-economic projects in relation to the Joint Agreement in Support of Socioeconomic Projects of Private Development Organizations and Institutes of March 16, 1998. The Parties discussed the signing of CASER with issues of the amnesty of political prisoners and the signing of a bilateral ceasefire agreement.

On Implementation of CARHRIHL and JASIG

The two Parties agreed to strictly comply with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the first major agreement signed by the Parties in accordance with the 4-item substantive agenda as provided for in The Hague Joint Declaration.

In this connection, the Joint Monitoring Committee discussed and finalized the Supplemental Guidelines for the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC). (Annex A) The Guidelines were subsequently signed by the respective Panel Chairpersons, Monitoring Committees, Supervising Panel Members and witnessed by the Third Party Facilitator.  These Supplementary Guidelines will guide and fully operationalize the work of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) in its task of monitoring the implementation of, and achieving, the objectives of CARHRIHL in upholding and promoting human rights and international humanitarian law.

These Guidelines supplement the Operational Guidelines for the JMC of 14 February 2004 and the Partial Supplemental Guidelines for the JMC of 24 June 2004 governing the monitoring mechanism of the implementation of the CARHRIHL.

In the first working session of the two negotiating panels, the NDFP raised the following issues regarding the GRP’s implementation of the CARHRIHL and JASIG:

The NDFP panel cited with concern the urgency for the GRP to repeal the remaining repressive Marcos decrees that continue to be used against political prisoners and the people; non-observance of the Hernandez political offense doctrine prohibiting the criminalization of acts in pursuit of one’s political beliefs; the perceived political rehabilitation of Marcos and its implications to the rendering of justice for the Martial Law victims; the incidents of occupying schools, barangay halls, and other civilian structures in the rural communities as part of GRP’s Oplan Bayanihan; and the due process issues in relation to the GRP’s anti-drug campaign.

The NDFP panel also cited the continuing detention of three NDFP consultants promised presidential pardon and the surveillance and harassment of NDFP consultants participating in the ongoing peace talks.

The NDFP panel conveyed that violations of the GRP unilateral ceasefire covering more than 500 barangays were increasingly endangering the peace talks.

The NDFP panel requested for a copy of the official document on Oplan Kapayapaan that replaces the Oplan Bayanihan of the Aquino administration. The GRP Panel clarified that Oplan Kapayapaan is not operational yet, having been submitted to the authorities concerned but not yet approved.

The NDFP Panel Chairperson previously submitted on November 28, 2016 and January 4, 2017 to the GRP documented complaints of ceasefire violations.

The GRP panel responded by giving its assurance that the GRP acknowledges having signed the CARHRIHL and its commitment to comply with its obligations under the said Agreement. If there are any reported violations of the Agreement on the part of the GRP, these should all be put into writing and submitted to the GRP Panel, which will then study these reports and take the appropriate action. The panel stated that there is no conscious policy on the part of GRP to violate the CARHRIHL and JASIG.

The GRP panel assured the NDFP that the aforementioned three NDFP consultants will be released. With regard to the surveillance and harassment of NDFP consultants, the AFP-Peace and Development Office (AFP-PDO) replied that the AFP recognizes the safety and immunity guarantees of the NDFP consultants. With regard to the reported occupation of schools, hospitals and communities, the AFP-PDO replied that AFP troops went into the communities upon the invitation of local government units, escorting civilian agencies delivering services to the communities.

The GRP Panel explained that the internment of the Marcos remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani was not intended to politically rehabilitate him. With regard to the indemnification of Marcos human rights victims, the GRP pointed out that the President has taken a direct hand at speeding up the processing and ensuring that a significant number would immediately be given their indemnification.

On the other hand, the GRP Panel Chairperson handed to the NDFP Panel Chairperson a copy of the GRP documented complaints on ceasefire violations committed by the NDFP.

On Amnesty and Releases

The NDFP Panel followed-up the status of the amnesty proclamation of all political prisoners (as listed by the NDFP) and reiterated that it is the most expeditious way of releasing them.

The Parties agreed to continue to study the issuance of an amnesty proclamation consequent to the substantial progress of the peace negotiations.

The GRP Panel also committed to facilitate the release of the three remaining NDFP consultants, Eduardo Sarmiento, Emeterio Antalan and Leopoldo Caloza, through presidential clemency, and other legal modes.

The GRP, with the assistance of the defense lawyers, shall expeditiously process the release of all the political prisoners listed by the NDFP starting with the 200 qualified prisoners either through bail, recognizance, pardon or other legal processes in compliance with the CARHRIHL and to allow them to participate in activities and mechanisms of the peace process.

The GRP team committed to file immediately the necessary manifestations in support of the motions for the temporary liberty of the NDFP consultants and staff granted bail and released in August 2016 be extended and remain effective for the duration of the peace negotiations.

Results of the Proceedings of the RWCs-SER

The GRP and NDFP Reciprocal Working Committees on Social and Economic Reforms (RWCs-SER) met on January 20 to 21, and 23 to 24, 2017, together with their respective consultants and resource persons.

The RWCs-SER had exchanged their complete drafts of the CASER more or less ten days before the opening of the third round of formal talks.

The RWCs-SER reaffirmed their April 2004 agreement on the Preamble and the Declaration of Principles (Part I) as the framework of the CASER, provided that the unresolved provisions, including new insertions of the NDFP, will be elevated to the negotiating panels for their resolution.

Discussions on the Bases, Scope and Applicability (Part II) were substantially made and points of agreement were identified. The reaffirmation of Part III entitled Desired Outcomes, which was approved during the second round of talks, was made.

The RWCs-SER also started discussions on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (Part IV). They reached a common understanding on the general features of the agrarian problems in the Philippines.

The RWCs-SER agreed in principle to the free distribution of land to farmers and farm workers as part of the governing frameworks of CASER.

For the purpose of accelerating the negotiation process of the CASER, the RWCs-SER agreed to the creation of bilateral teams to help reconcile contentious provisions in the GRP and NDFP drafts and/or provisions which have no corresponding equivalent in each RWCs’ exchanged drafts. The bilateral teams shall submit to their respective RWCs the necessary recommendations.

The bilateral teams may hold meetings in Metro Manila, Philippines, or in any mutually agreed upon venue in the Philippines, or in any neighboring country.

The Panels and RWCs-SER signed on 25 January 2017 the Ground Rules for the Conduct of the Formal Meetings between the RWCs-SER of the GRP and the NDFP. (Annex B)

In the next round of formal talks, the RWCs-SER shall discuss the remaining items under the Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (Part IV), National Industrialization and Economic Development (Part V), Environmental Protection, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Part VI), and the outputs of the bilateral teams.

Results of the Proceedings of the RWGs-PCR

The Reciprocal Working Groups (RWGs) on Political and Constitutional Reforms (PCR) met twice and formally exchanged full drafts of the tentative Agreement on PCR based on the common outline agreed upon during the last round of talks in October 2016.  This surpassed the earlier expectation that the RWGs would only enflesh the said outline in the third round.

The RWGs assisted by their consultants, staff and observers, ran through their respective drafts highlighting their main points, proposed mechanisms and framework.

They exchanged initial and general views, opinions and comments as well as questions on certain provisions of their drafts.

They exchanged views on the proposal for a federal form of government and the need for certain constitutional guarantees and safeguards demanded by the people.

Thereafter, they exchanged and presented their respective comparative matrices of the drafts.

They also agreed to hold unilateral meetings of the RWGs to rewrite their respective drafts and matrices taking into account the drafts that they have exchanged.

The RWGs acknowledged that the tentative drafts shall be subject to the developments in the crafting of the CASER.

They agreed to meet again during the fourth round of formal talks and work on a common matrix as a reference for discussions.

Meeting of the Ceasefire Committees

The NDFP ceasefire committee (CFC) formally acknowledged receiving the GRP CFC draft “Agreement on an Interim Bilateral Cessation of Hostilities Between the GRP and the NDFP”. It said that it will seriously study the proposal, submit comments and may provide its own updated version of its proposed draft agreement for an interim bilateral ceasefire.

NDFP Panel Chairperson Fidel V. Agcaoili handed a letter addressed to GRP Panel Chairperson Silvestre H. Bello III formally protesting the AFP military operation in Makilala, North Cotabato as a violation of the ongoing ceasefire.

The Parties note that their unilateral indefinite ceasefires remain in place. They note however that there are issues and concerns related thereto.

The two CFCs agreed to meet again during the period on February 22-27, 2017 in The Netherlands simultaneous to the opening of the bank safety deposit box account for safekeeping of the JASIG documents of identification.

Fourth Round of Formal Talks

The Parties agreed to meet for the fourth round of formal talks in Oslo, Norway on April 2-6, 2017. They shall continue to work on strengthening the mechanisms in the implementation of CARHRIHL and the unification of the drafts of CASER and CAPCR.

Expression of Gratitude to RNG

Both Panels reiterated their appreciation and gratitude to the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) for its unrelenting support to and active facilitation of the peace talks which have allowed both sides to move these forward. They also thanked the RNG for the two international experts that they provided who shared their insights on peace negotiations that the Parties may find useful.

Once more they expressed their gratitude to the RNG for its consistent and substantial facilitation and support for the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations as well as to the Italian government for its cooperation and support.

Signed on the 25th day of January 2017 in the City of Rome, Italy.

Signatories:

 

Sec. Silvestre H. Bello III Fidel V. Agcaoili
Chairperson of the GRP Panel

Hernani A. Braganza

Member, GRP Panel

Rene V. Sarmiento

Member, GRP Panel

Angela L. Trinidad

Member, GRP Panel

Sedfrey M. Candelaria

*alternate member, GRP Panel

Chairperson of the NDFP Panel

Julieta S. de Lima

Member, NDFP Panel

Coni K. Ledesma

Member, NDFP Panel

Asterio B. Palima

Member, NDFP Panel

Benito E. Tiamzon

Member, NDFP Panel

WITNESSES:

Sec. Jesus G. Dureza                                               Prof. Jose Maria Sison

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process     NDFP Chief Political Consultant

Mayor Edgardo D. Pamintuan                                       Luis G. Jalandoni 

Adviser, GRP Panel                                           Senior Adviser, NDFP Panel

Elisabeth Slåttum

Third Party Facilitator

For the Royal Norwegian Government

JOINT STATEMENT ON THE SECOND ROUND OF TALKS BETWEEN THE GRP AND THE NDFP

We, the Negotiating Panels of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), successfully held the second round of talks from 6 to 9 October 2016 in Oslo, Norway, facilitated by the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG).

At the opening ceremonies, RNG Special Envoy to the Philippines Peace Process, Ambassador Elizabeth Slattum, welcomed the GRP and NDFP delegations. She reiterated the continuing commitment of the RNG to support the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

Secretary Jesus G. Dureza, GRP Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP) reiterated the commitment of the two Parties in the peace negotiations toward resolving the armed conflict.

NDFP Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison thanked the RNG for its caring and efficient facilitation. He stated that the amnesty and release of all political prisoners are a matter of justice and compliance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and will be a big incentive to the forging of a more stable ceasefire as well as to the acceleration of the peace process.

GRP Panel Chairperson Silvestre Bello III congratulated Fidel Agcaoili for being the newly-designated Chairperson of the NDFP Negotiating Panel and reiterated the determination of the Duterte administration to bring the peace negotiations to a successful conclusion as soon as possible. He also extended his deepest appreciation to former NDFP Negotiating Panel Chairperson Luis G. Jalandoni for his invaluable contribution to the sustained conduct of the peace talks through the years.

NDFP Panel Chairperson Fidel V. Agcaoili thanked the GRP Panel Chairperson for his congratulations. He narrated the need to expeditiously pursue the work for the grant of amnesty and the release of prisoners (as listed by the NDFP).

NDFP Panel Chairperson Agcaoili announced the appointments of Mr. Jalandoni as NDFP Senior Adviser and Benito E. Tiamzon as new member of the NDFP Panel.

The Chairpersons of the GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels, Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III and Fidel V. Agcaoili, introduced their respective Panel Members:

On the side of the GRP: Panel Chairperson, Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III and Panel members, Hernani A. Braganza, Atty. Rene V. Sarmiento, Atty. Angela L. Trinidad, and Atty . Antonio B. Arellano.

On the side of the NDFP: Panel Chairperson Fidel V. Agcaoili and Panel Members Julieta S. de Lima, Coni K. Ledesma, Asterio B. Palima and Benito E. Tiamzon.

Both sides also brought along the heads and members of their respective Reciprocal Working Committee-Socio and Economic Reforms (RWCs-SER), Reciprocal Working Groups-Political and Constitutional Reforms (RWGs-PCR), Reciprocal Working Groups-End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces (RWGs-EHDF), Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) under the CARHRIHL, respective ceasefire committees, advisers, consultants, cooperators, experts, resource persons, technical personnel and observers.

The Parties noted the presence of the six-person delegation from the House of Representatives headed by Hon. Ruby M. Sahali as well as Tarlac Gov. Susan Yap. The other members of the House delegation are: Deputy Speaker Bai Sandra S.A. Sema, Hon. Leopoldo N. Bataoil, Hon. Nancy A. Catamco, Hon. Jesus N. Sacdalan, and Hon. Carlos Isagani Zarate.

The two Panels agreed on the following:

1. Releases
The Parties reviewed the Joint Oslo Statements dated June 15 and August 26, 2016 on the issue of the immediate release of detained prisoners listed by the NDFP, giving premium on those prisoners who will be released based on humanitarian grounds. They also reviewed the circumstances and status of JASIG-protected NDFP consultants.

They took good note of the positive steps so far taken, including the finalization of the Revised Guidelines on the Presidential Committee on Bail, Recognizance and Pardon, and agreed to accelerate the process consistent with the Parties’ common resolve.

They also agreed that the presidential clemency for and release of three remaining JASIG-protected consultants, Eduardo Sarmiento, Emeterio Antalan and Leopoldo Caloza, shall be expedited. The GRP shall release the prisoners who are listed by the NDFP in accordance with the CARHRIHL pending the approval of the proposed amnesty for their benefit.

The GRP Panel affirms its commitment to work for the release of these prisoners in expeditious and acceptable modes.

2. Amnesty Proclamation
The Panels reviewed the circumstances and status of the proposed amnesty proclamation since the first round of talks on August 27, 2016.

The GRP Panel said that the amnesty proclamation has already been drafted and endorsed to the Office of the President. The NDFP Panel requested a copy of the said proclamation. The GRP Panel assured the NDFP that it shall have a copy in due time.
Meetings of RWCs, RWGs, JMC and respective ceasefire committees

Meeting of RWCs, RWGs, JMC and respective ceasefire committees.

a. RWCs-SER
The RWCs-SER discussed their respective proposed drafts on the framework and outline of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER).

After several sessions, the RWCs-SER agreed on a common CASER framework and outline which both parties have initialed (Annex A).

The RWCs-SER agreed to conduct their respective consultations, exchange drafts, and schedule their bilateral meetings to correspond to the formal meetings of the Negotiating Panels.

b. RWCs-PCR
The RWCs-PCR agreed on a common outline (Annex B). This shall be fleshed out by each side in the period of November to December 2016 in the Philippines. The two sides shall exchange the enfleshed drafts of the common outline in the last week of January 2017 by email. They shall discuss the drafts in order to reconcile them on the date and venue decided by the Panels.

c. RWCs-EHDF
The RWGs-EHDF agreed on the topic outline of the NDFP RWG-EHDF as the common outline (Annex C).

The RWGs-EHDF will continue to hold unilateral meetings in order to develop their respective outlines and submit the same to their respective Panels. In the meantime, the RWGs-EHDF shall study and follow closely the progress of the work of the RWCs-SER and RWGs-PCR.

The RWGs-EHDF have agreed to exchange drafts of their respective enfleshed common draft outlines upon completion by the RWCs on SER of the draft CASER and after the RWCs on PCR have substantially moved forward in the drafting of a CAPCR.

d. Joint Monitoring Committee
The JMC discussed and agreed to undertake joint activities including the distribution of CARHRIHL in several local languages, brochures, poster-making contest and calendar.

The JMC likewise agreed to develop the monitoring system and promote human rights by conducting fora and trainings which will be planned by the Joint Secretariats.

The JMC will recommend the inclusion of the study of human rights and international humanitarian law in the curriculum of schools.

They had extended discussions and clarifications on documentation and investigation.

The Joint Secretariat shall finalize the coverage of the Joint Education and Capacity Building.

The JMC shall correspondingly amend the budget to cover the various joint activities and submit it to the RNG.

The JMC discussed the Draft Common Supplemental Guidelines initialed in April 2011 including further amendments by the NDFP MC to which the GRP MC asked for more time to study and comment.

The JMC discussed its budget and agreed that the coverage is for fifteen months, beginning October 2016 to December 2017.

e. Respective ceasefire committees
The Parties renewed their commitment to work through their respective ceasefire committees to reconcile and develop their separate unilateral ceasefire orders into a single unified bilateral document within 60 days from August 26, 2016.

The Parties engaged in preliminary discussions on different drafts for a potential bilateral ceasefire, took note of concerns on issues related thereto, and relayed alleged incidents vis-a-vis their separate unilateral ceasefire orders.

The Parties stressed that they are exerting best efforts to develop a single unified document of a bilateral ceasefire agreement within a desired period.

The Parties have likewise reaffirmed their declarations of their respective unilateral indefinite ceasefires.

3. Next Meeting
The Panels agreed to meet again on the third week of January 2017 in a foreign neutral venue. They have instructed their respective RWCs and RWGs to synchronize their schedules.

Expression of Gratitude to RNG
Both Panels reiterated their appreciation and gratitude to the Royal Norwegian Government for its steadfast support to the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and acknowledged the facilitation of Special Envoy to the Philippine Peace Process Elisabeth Slattum and her team.

 

Signed in Oslo, Norway on 09 October 2016

Sec. Silvestre H. Bello III

Chairperson of the GRP Panel

Hernani A. Braganza

Member, GRP Panel

Rene V. Sarmiento

Member, GRP Panel

Angela L. Trinidad

Member, GRP Panel

Antonio B. Arellano

Member, GRP Panel

Fidel V. Agcaoili

Chairperson of the NDFP Panel

Julieta S. de Lima

Member, NDFP Panel

Coni K. Ledesma

Member, NDFP Panel

Asterio B. Palima

Member, NDFP Panel

Benito E. Tiamzon

Member, NDFP Panel

WITNESSES:

Sec. Jesus G. Dureza

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Mayor Edgardo D. Pamintuan

Adviser, GRP Panel

Prof. Jose Maria Sison

NDFP Chief Political Consultant

Luis G. Jalandoni

Senior Adviser, NDFP Panel

Elisabeth Slattum

Third Party Facilitator

For the Royal Norwegian Government

The GRP delegation was headed by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus G. Dureza with the following members: OPAPP Assistant Secretary Dickson Hermoso; GRP Negotiating Panel Chairperson Silvestre H. Bello III and Panel members Hernani A. Braganza, Atty. Rene V. Sarmiento, Atty. Angela L. Trinidad, and Atty. Antonio B. Arellano; Panel Advisers Mayor Edgardo D. Pamintuan and CHED Commissioner Prospero De Vera; GRP Monitoring Committee Chair Atty. Efren C. Moncupa and member Col Facundo Palafox; RWC-SER Head Roberto M. Ador and member Atty. Ria Lano; RWG PCR Head Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria with member Dean Julio Teehankee; RWG-EH/DF Head DND Assistant Secretary Teodoro Cirilo Torralba III and member Atty. Franklin Quijano; Committee-Ceasefire Head Prof. Francisco J. Lara, Jr. and members Atty, Marie Dinah Tolentino-Fuentes, Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip, Col. Wilmer Panabang and Atty. Adel Abas; WG-JASIG/Releases Head Atty. Vincent Paul L. Montejo; Panel Technical Committee Head Danilo L. Encinas and members Col. Francisco Ariel A. Felicidario III, Police Chief Supt. Agrimero A. Cruz Jr.; WG Communications Head Patricia Melizza Ruivivar and members Ruben Manahan, Edwin G. Espejo and Joy Alcantara; Panel Secretariat Head Director Maria Carla Munsayac-Villarta and staff support team members Oscar Bathan, Fe Oaing, Celin Mendoza, Rosalyn Lachica, Edith Wayas, Jenivive Cruz and Rhoda Espino; and Executive/Technical Assistants Dr. Jesus Cruz, Leonardo Kirk Galanza, Jeliza Farrah D. Uy, Oibone Enobio, and Lean Braganza.

The NDFP Delegation was composed of Panel Chairperson Fidel V. Agcaoili and Panel Members Julieta S. de Lima-Sison, Coni K. Ledesma, Asterio B. Palima, Benito E. Tiamzon; NDFP Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison; Senior Adviser Luis G. Jalandoni; Political Consultants Rey Claro Casambre, Danilo Borjal; Legal Consultants Edre U. Olalia, Rachel Pastores, Carlos Montemayor Jr., Criselda Azarcon Heredia, Edgar Carmona; Legal Resource Persons Marie Francesca Yuvienco, Rom-Voltaire Quizon, Pamela Felizarta, Rolando Rico Olalia, Fatima Irene Purisima; RWC-SER Members Alan Jazmines Jr., Randall Echanis, Adelberto Silva; RWC-SER Consultants Gabriel Kennedy Bangibang, Ruben Saluta, Servellano Jaime Soledad, Ma. Loida Magpatoc, Renato Baleros Sr.; RWC-SER Resource Person Vivian de Lima; RWC-SER Secretariat Members Rita Sadorra, Pio Verzola Jr., Lualhati Roque; RWG-PCR Members Rafael Baylosis, Renante Gamara, Alfredo Mapano, Ernesto Lorenzo; RWG-PCR Consultant Felix Randy Malayao Jr.; RWG-PCR Cooperator Carol P. Araullo; RWG-PCR Resource Person Francisco Domagoso; RWG-EHDF Chairperson Wilma Austria Tiamzon; RWG-EHDF Members Pedro Codaste, Porferio Tuna Jr.; RWG-EHDF Consultants Tirso Alcantara, Ariel Arbitrario, Edie Genelza; JMC Member Concha Araneta-Bocala; JMC Staff Levie Ebio; Independent Observer Rev. Rex Reyes Jr.; Secretariat Head Marissa P. Dumanjug-Palo and Staff Members Alexander Birondo, Winona Birondo, Rosario Agcaoili (staff of Fidel V. Agcaoili).

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JOINT STATEMENT ON THE RESUMPTION OF THE FORMAL TALKS IN THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN THE GRP AND NDFP

We, the Negotiating Panels of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) successfully resumed the formal talks in the peace negotiations from 22 to 26 August 2016 in Oslo, Norway facilitated by the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG), thereby ending almost half a decade of impasse in the formal talks in the peace negotiations.

At the opening ceremonies, RNG Special Envoy to the Philippine Peace Process Amb. Elisabeth Slattum welcomed the two delegations and introduced Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende who gave the opening speech. He reiterated the firm commitment of the RNG to support the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

Sec. Jesus G. Dureza, GRP Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP), and Prof. Jose Maria C. Sison, Chief Political Consultant of the NDFP, expressed the commitment of the two Parties to resume the formal talks in the peace negotiations in order to resolve the armed conflict by addressing its root causes.

The Chairpersons of the GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels, Sec. Silvestre H. Bello III and Luis G. Jalandoni, delivered their opening statements and introduced their respective Panel members.

On the side of the GRP: Panel Chairperson Sec. Silvestre H. Bello III and Panel members, Hernani A. Braganza, Atty. Rene V. Sarmiento, Atty. Angela L. Trinidad, and Atty. Antonio B. Arellano.

On the side of the NDFP: Panel Chairperson Luis G. Jalandoni and Panel members Fidel V. Agcaoili, Julieta S. de Lima, Coni K. Ledesma and Asterio B. Palima.
Both sides also brought along members of their respective Reciprocal Working Committees-Social and Economic Reforms (RWCs-SER), Reciprocal Working Groups-Political and Constitutional Reforms (RWGs-PCR), Reciprocal Working Groups-End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces (RWGs-EHDF), consultants, cooperators, experts and technical personnel.

The two Panels agreed on the following:

1. Reaffirmation of Previous Agreements

The GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels (henceforth, the Parties) reaffirmed the previously signed agreements since The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 and resolved to conduct formal talks and consultations in accordance with said agreements.

We hereby resume the formal talks in the peace negotiations of the GRP and NDFP. We reaffirm all the previous bilateral and binding agreements made in these negotiations, starting with The Hague Joint Declaration of September 1, 1992, and including the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) of February 24, 1995; the Joint Agreement on the Formation, Sequence and Operationalization of the Reciprocal Working Committees (RWC) of the GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels of June 26, 1995; and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) of March 16, 1998.

The affirmed documents shall be subject to further developments and enhancements as may be mutually agreed upon.

2. Reconstitution of the JASIG List

The NDFP Negotiating Panel presented the Reconstituted List of holders of the NDFP document of identification who are protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). The GRP Negotiating Panel acknowledged receipt of the said list. Both Parties agreed on the procedure and persons responsible for the documentation of the NDFP holders of identification, safekeeping of documents and verification of the holders of identification in accordance with the JASIG.

3. Acceleration of the Peace Negotiations

The Parties agreed to accelerate the peace process and set the timeline for the completion of the remaining substantive agenda for the talks: socio-economic reforms; political and constitutional reforms; and end of hostilities and disposition of forces. The meetings of the aforementioned shall be held in one venue to enable the Panels to supervise their work. The RWCs-SER will endeavor to complete their work within a period of six months.

Meetings of RWCs, RWGs and JMC

The Panels convened the Joint Meeting of their RWCs-SER and their Reciprocal Working Groups on Political and Constitutional Reforms (RWGs-PCR) and on End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces (RWGs-EHDF) to discuss the agenda, mechanics and timeline of their work, and the meeting of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) and their Chairpersons. The RWCs-SER, RWGs-PCR, RWGs-EHDF and JMC agreed on the following which were approved by the panels:

a. RWCs-SER

On the methods of work, the RWCs agreed to have an exchange of proposed drafts on the CASER framework and outline on or before September 15, 2016. The exchange of drafts can be done through email.

Thereafter, the RWCs shall submit their respective comments on the proposed drafts on the CASER framework and outline on or before September 30, 2016. They may also submit further clarification or response to the comments on the proposed drafts on or before October 10, 2016.

After the exchange of drafts on the CASER framework and outline and comments and further clarification, the RWCs agreed to meet between October 19 and 30, 2016 to discuss and finalize the framework and outline of the CASER, their work schedule and methods of work and other matters.

b. RWGs-PCR

The Reciprocal Working Groups of the GRP and NDFP on Political and Constitutional Reforms agreed to hold their first and further meetings in Oslo, Norway in synchronization with the meetings of the RWCs on Socio Economic Reforms.

The schedule of the meetings and the respective tasks will be as follows:

  • September 2016 – both RWGs will exchange drafts of their respective outlines through e-mail.
  • October 2016 – the RWGs will meet in in Oslo, Norway for the purpose of arriving at a common draft of the outline.
  • November 2016 – the RWGs will proceed to respectively enflesh the agreed common draft of the outline.
  • December 2016 – the one week drafting of the common draft of the CAPCR by the RWGs will be held in Oslo, Norway.
  • Both RWGs will allow for consultations with Principals and researches thereafter.
  • January 2017 – a one week drafting to complete the CAPCR in Oslo, Norway will continue until the full text of a DRAFT CAPCR is finally completed possibly by the end of January 2017 for submission to the respective Panels.

c. RWGs-EHDF

The Reciprocal Working Groups on End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces (RWGs-EHDF) of the GRP and NDFP agreed to hold their first and further meetings in Oslo, Norway in synchronization with the meetings of the RWCs on SER and RWGs on PCR.

The RWGs on EHDF agreed to present their respective draft outlines for the Comprehensive Agreement on EHDF on October 24, 2016 or on the next scheduled Panel meeting, whichever comes first. The meetings shall also include:

The formulation of a common outline for the CAEHDF
Date of exchange of first drafts.
Plan for the date of the first meeting to discuss the first draft.
Schedule for further exchange of succeeding drafts.
Plan and timeline for further meetings.

d. Joint Monitoring Committee

The JMC Chairpersons agreed to discuss the following agenda items when it meets on September 20-21, 2016 at 10:00 am at the RNG Embassy in Taguig City or at a neutral venue to be identified by the RNG: (a) Formal revitalization of the JMC, (b) Draft Common Supplemental Guidelines for the Operationalization of the JMC; (c) Issues and Concerns regarding the Joint Secretariat; (d) Proposed Joint Activities; and (e) Schedule of Next Meeting. To facilitate discussion for its next meeting, the GRP MC and NDFP MC Chairpersons will exchange Notes in the next three weeks: (a) the GRP MC will submit its comments on the Draft Common Supplemental Guidelines which were initialed by the JMC in April 2011 at the RNG Embassy in Makati City; (b) the NDFP MC will submit a paper regarding issues and concerns relative to the Joint Secretariat; and (c) the GRP MC and NDFP MC will submit their respective proposals on joint activities of the Joint Secretariat.

4. Releases

The NDFP expresses appreciation for, and the GRP acknowledges, the efforts of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to fulfill his promise to order the release of the NDFP consultants in pursuit of peace and with due consideration to JASIG, as recommended by the GRP Panel. Thus, the aforesaid consultants are enabled to participate in the peace negotiations.

The NDFP thanks the GRP under President Duterte for committing to cause the early release of prisoners (as listed by the NDFP) who are sick, elderly, overly long detained and women based on humanitarian grounds.

5. Amnesty Proclamation

The Parties agree that the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) Panel will immediately recommend to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte the issuance of an Amnesty Proclamation, subject to concurrence of Congress, for the release of prisoners who are listed by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and who have been arrested, imprisoned, charged, and/or convicted for alleged acts or omissions within the ambit of the Revised Penal Code or special laws in connection with alleged crimes in pursuit of one’s political beliefs. The Parties will discuss the content and language of the prospective Amnesty Proclamation.

6. Ceasefire

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) shall declare and issue an indefinite unilateral ceasefire order to the New People’s Army (NPA) and the people’s militia, upon the end of their current ceasefire order on August 27, 2016. The aforesaid unilateral ceasefire shall be in response to President Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire which was effective indefinitely from August 21, 2016.

The Negotiating Panels agreed to work through their respective ceasefire committees to reconcile and develop their separate unilateral ceasefire orders into a single unified bilateral document within 60 days from the date of this Joint Statement. Said document shall be subject to the approval of their respective Principals.

The Parties also discussed the prospective adoption of annexes to the bilateral ceasefire agreement and the prospective role of a third party in ceasefire monitoring and mediation in relation to the implementation of the ceasefire, and the handling of complaints and alleged violations. The ceasefire agreement shall be deemed interim in relation to the outcomes of negotiations leading to a Comprehensive Agreement on End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces.

7. Next Meeting
The Panels agreed to meet again on October 8-12, 2016 in Oslo, Norway.
Expression of Gratitude to the RNG
Both Panels expressed their appreciation and gratitude to the Royal Norwegian Government for its able facilitation, hospitality and continuing support for the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. In particular, the Panels wish to acknowledge the following: Minister of Foreign Affairs Borge Brende, State Secretary Tore Hattrem, Special Envoy to the Philippine Peace Process Elisabeth Slattum, Senior Advisor Marianne W. Hille, Senior Advisor Arne Jan Flolo, Advisor Mirjan Ehl, Foreign Service Trainee Ida Marstein and Senior Advisor Marco Mezzera.

Signed in Oslo, Norway on 26 August 2016.

Sec.  Silvestre H. Bello III

Chairperson of the GRP Panel

Luis G. Jalandoni

Chairperson of the NDFP Panel

Hernani A. Braganza

Member GRP Panel

Fidel V. Agcaoili

Member NDFP Panel

Rene V. Sarmiento
Member GRP Panel
Julieta S. de Lima

Member NDFP Panel

Angela L. Trinidad

Member GRP Panel

Coni K. Ledesma

Member NDFP Panel

Antonio B.  Arellano

Member GRP Panel

Asterio B. Palima

Member NDFP Panel

WITNESSES:
Sec. Jesus G. Dureza

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

Prof. Jose Maria Sison

NDFP Chief Political Consultant

Elisabeth Slattum
Third Party Facilitator
For the Royal Norwegian Government

The GRP Delegation was headed by Secretary Jesus G. Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. Included in the Delegation are: Panel Chairperson Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, Panel Members Mr. Hernani A. Braganza, Atty. Rene V. Sarmiento, Atty. Angela L. Trinidad, and Atty. Antonio B. Arellano; Undersecretary Diosita T. Andot, Assistant Secretary Dickson P. Hermoso, Consultants Milo S. Ibrado, Jr. and Jose Christopher Fornier II; Communications Group Head Patricia Melizza B. Ruivivar; Panel Advisers Mayors Herbert M. Bautista and Edgardo D. Pamintuan; Working Group Heads Atty. Efren C. Moncupa (RWC-SER Chair and Concurrent GRP-MC Chair), Roberto M. Ador (Alternate RWC-SER Chair), Dean Sedfrey M. Candelaria (RWG-PCR), Dr. Francisco J. Lara, Jr. (RWG-Ceasefire), and Atty. Vincent Paul L. Montejo (RWG-JASIG/Releases); Panel Technical Committee Head Danilo L. Encinas and Members Teodoro Cirilo T. Torralba III, Atty. Berlin SM Berba, Col. Francisco Ariel A. Felicidario III, and Police Chief Supt. Agrimero A. Cruz Jr.; and Panel Secretariat Head Maria Carla Munsayac Villarta. Secretariat Staff Oscar B. Bathan and Fe O. Doromal; Support Staff for Communications Edwin G. Espejo and Ruben Manahan; and Technical Staff of Panel Members Rhoda I. Espino and Dr. Jesus Cruz. Also present was Cong. Victor A. Yap as Observer.

The NDFP Delegation was composed of Panel Chairperson Luis G. Jalandoni and Panel Members Fidel V. Agcaoili, Julieta S. de Lima-Sison, Coni K. Ledesma, Asterio B. Palima, members; NDFP Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison; Political Consultants Benito Tiamzon, Vicente Ladlad, Rey Claro Casambre, Danilo Borjal; Legal Consultants Edre U. Olalia, Rachel Pastores, Carlos Montemayor Jr.; Legal Resource Person Marie Yuvienco; RWC-SER Members Alan Jazmines, Rafael Baylosis, Randall Echanis, Adelberto Silva; RWC-SER Consultants Gabriel Kennedy Bangibang, Ruben Saluta, Jaime Soledad; RWG-PCR Members Renante Gamara, Alfredo Mapano, Ernesto Lorenzo; RWG-PCR Consultant Felix Randy Malayao Jr.; RWG-PCR Cooperators Carol P. Araullo, Satur Ocampo; RWG-EHDF Chairperson Wilma Tiamzon and RWG-EHDF Members Pedro Codaste, Porferio Tuna; RWG-EHDF Consultants Tirso Alcantara, Ariel Arbitrario, Eduardo Genelza; JMC Member Concha Araneta-Bocala; Secretariat Head Marissa P. Dumanjug-Palo.

 

 

JOINT STATEMENT

Representatives from the incoming GPH Panel and the NDFP Panel held exploratory talks on June 14-15, 2016, in Oslo, Norway under the facilitation of the Royal Norwegian Government as Third Party Facilitator for the talks, and agreed on the following:

  1. Formal peace talks will resume in the third week of July 2016 in Oslo, Norway and shall be conducted in accordance with previously signed agreements by the Parties.
  2. The Parties will discuss the following agenda items during the resumption of the formal talks:
    • Affirmation of previously signed agreements;
    • Accelerated process for negotiations, including the timeline for the completion of the remaining substantive agenda for the talks: socio-economic reforms; political and constitutional reforms; and end of hostilities and disposition of forces;
    • Reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) list.
    • Amnesty Proclamation for the release of all detained political prisoners, subject to concurrence by Congress.
    • Mode of interim ceasefire.
  3. The GPH Panel will recommend to President Duterte the following:
  • Immediate release of NDFP consultants and other JASIG protected persons in accordance with the JASIG to enable them to participate in the peace negotiations.
  • Immediate release of prisoners/detainees based on humanitarian grounds.

We sign this joint statement for authentication purposes of what was discussed and approved in Oslo, Norway, this 15th day of June 2016.

SILVESTRE H. BELLO III
Incoming GPH Panel Chairperson

LUIS G. JALANDONI
NDFP Panel Chairperson

HERNANI A. BRAGANZA
Incoming Member

FIDEL V. AGCAOILI
Member

JESUS G. DUREZA
Incoming Presidential Adviser

JOSE MARIA SISON
Chief Political Consultant on the Peace Process NDFP Panel

Witnessed by:

AMB. ELISABETH SLATTUM
Special Envoy to the Philippine Peace Process
Royal Norwegian Government

Press Communique

Oslo Joint Statement

Joint Communique

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE THRID PARTY FACILITATOR, THE ROYAL NORWEGIAN GOVERNMENT

The respective Monitoring Committees of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), through their respective Chairpersons, by authority of their respective Negotiating Panels have agreed with the Third Party Facilitator the Royal Norwegian Government that the following will guide the role of the designated Finance Agent (employed by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, CHD) of the Third Party Facilitator and their financial support to the Joint Monitoring Committee and its Joint Secretariat: