NDFP signs agreement to forge interim joint ceasefire, move talks forward

NDFP Media Office
Press statement
5 April 2017

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) signed an agreement on an interim joint ceasefire in order to ensure that negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) on basic socio-economic and political reforms move forward.

In an interview, Wilma Tiamzon, a member of the NDFP ceasefire committee, said that the NDFP exercised flexibility to find a way out of the impasse that resulted from the lifting of both sides’ unilateral ceasefires last February and help regain trust and goodwill between the two parties that prevailed in the first three rounds of the peace talks.

NDFP panel chair Fidel Agcaoili said that the NDFP exercised maximum flexibility without abandoning principles when it signed an agreement with the GRP on an interim joint ceasefire. The interim joint ceasefire agreement takes effect after or simultaneous to the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER). “This is not yet a ceasefire agreement,” said Agcaoili, “but it is a significant step because it points the road towards making an interim joint ceasefire agreement.”

In a written interview, NDFP consultant Dan Borjal said that both parties’ ceasefire committees will be working hard on the guidelines and ground rules of the interim joint ceasefire agreement so that the prospective ceasefire can be more stable than the previous unilateral ceasefires.

Tiamzon explained that the working out of the guidelines and ground rules to implement the interim joint ceasefire will go hand in hand with the forging of the CASER which is supposed to be finished before the current year ends.

“This will go a long way in building trust and confidence and generating the atmosphere for the acceleration of the negotiations for CASER,” NDFP chief political consultant Jose Ma. Sison said in his remarks during the signing ceremony.

“I think the (ceasefire) negotiators were wise and flexible enough to make provisions for what some people expected would break the negotiations,” he added.

The NDFP expects that the signing of the interim joint ceasefire will likewise be accompanied by the release and grant of general amnesty to all political prisoners listed by the NDFP.