Oslo Joint Statement
The Negotiating Panel of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) resumed formal talks from 10 to14 February 2004, in Oslo, Norway upon the hosting and facilitation of the Royal Norwegian Government.
The formal talks opened with welcome remarks by the State Secretary of Norway, Vidar Helgesen. This was followed by the opening statements of the GRP Panel Chairperson Silvestre H. Bello III and the NDFP Panel Chairperson Luis Jalandoni.
The parties recognize the importance of resuming formal talks towards resolving the armed conflict. The goal of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations is the attainment of a just and lasting peace by addressing the root causes of the armed conflict, pursuing social, economic, political and constitutional reforms, improving the living conditions of the Filipino people and expanding their freedom.
The two Parties arrived at agreements as follows:
1. Framework of the Negotiations
The two Parties renewed their commitment to address the roots of the armed conflict by adopting social, economic and political reforms and thereby laying the ground for a just and lasting peace. They reaffirmed The Hague Declaration, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and seven other signed bilateral agreements as the framework and foundation of the talks.
2. Role of the Third Party Facilitator
The two Panels and the Royal Norwegian Government agreed on the latter’s role as Third Party Facilitator as described in the Annex A attached hereto.
3. Effective Measures Regarding the “Terrorist” Listing
To resolve the outstanding issue of the “terrorist” listing of the CPP/NPA and the NDFP Chief Political Consultant, effective measures shall be undertaken in consonance with the Hague Joint Declaration, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), and other bilateral agreements. The panelists, consultants, staffers and other duly authorized participants of said negotiations shall thereby be fully protected by the pertinent provisions of the Hague Joint Declaration, the JASIG and the CAR-HR/IHL as well as the Amado V. Hernandez doctrine on political offense.
The GRP and the NDFP shall, jointly and separately, call upon the Government of the United States, the Council of the European Union and other concerned foreign states and governments, to support the efforts of the parties in resolving the outstanding issue of the “terrorist” listing of the CPP/NPA and the NDFP Chief Political Consultant in order to advance and promote the peace negotiations and address the root causes of the armed conflict.
The good offices of the third party facilitator will, as appropriate, communicate the above to the international community.
4. NDFP Proposal for Accelerated Work/GRP Proposal of an Enhanced Process
The two Panels shall reconvene the Reciprocal Working Committees on Social and Economic Reforms (RWCs on SER) immediately and continue the work of their respective subcommittees towards completing the draft on all aspects of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) based on target dates of completion. For this purpose, all the subcommittees shall conduct the work simultaneously in the Philippines, in The Netherlands or wherever it is necessary to expedite the work.
At the same time, the Panels shall prepare the work of the Reciprocal Working Committees on Political and Constitutional Reforms (RWCs on PCR) and the necessary subcommittees. Upon completion by the RWCs on SER of the sections on agrarian reform and on national industrialization, the work on political and constitutional reforms shall be initiated and completed according to the target dates.
5. Formation of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC)
Pursuant to the nature and mandate of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) as provided in Part V of CARHRIHL and other provisions thereof, the GRP designated Rene Sarmiento, Jose Luis Martin Gascon and Major Ferdinand Baraquel as members of the JMC. The NDFP confirmed the earlier designation of Fidel V. Agcaoili, Coni Ledesma and Danilo Borjal as members of the JMC.
The GRP designated Mercy Contreras and Aileen Bacalzo as observers of the JMC. The NDFP designated Bishop Tomas Millamena and Marie Hilao-Enriquez as observers of the JMC.
Upon the designation of all the above, the formation of the JMC is completed.
The Panels agreed to form the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) as an interim body which shall monitor the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAR-HR/IHL).
The two Parties approved the Operational Guidelines for the JMC (Annex B hereof) to implement Part V and related provisions of the CARHRIHL.
The JMC shall perform its duties as defined under Part V of the CARHRIHL.
The JMC is now fully operational pursuant to Part V of the CARHRIHL.
6. Indemnification of the Victims of Human Rights Violations Under the Marcos Regime
In keeping with its obligation under Articles 3, 4 and 5 of Part III of CARHRIHL, and taking into consideration the Swiss Supreme Court Decision of 10 December 1997, the GRP undertakes to preserve at least PhP8 billion (approximately USD150 million) plus interest and earnings from the USD684 million forfeited Marcos ill-gotten wealth to be deposited in the form of US dollars. The GRP Panel hereby recommends to its principal, following the precedents in the contingency legal expenses and lawyers fees incurred by the PCGG, and subject to law and jurisprudence, to retain in an escrow account with the Philippine National Bank the said amount solely for the purpose of indemnifying victims of human rights violations during martial law. From this amount and such additional amounts as may be necessary, the GRP shall indemnify martial law victims of human rights violations, giving priority to the successful plaintiffs in the Human Rights Litigation against Marcos who shall be indemnified without further delay and in the most expeditious manner.
7. Work of the Reciprocal Working Committees on Social and Economic (RWC-SER) Reforms
The RWCs on SER reviewed the status of the work at both the RWC and subcommittee levels since the resumption of the formal talks between the GRP and the NDFP in April 2001 and affirmed the common positions so far reached.
They agreed to accelerate the joint work meetings of the two RWCs in accordance with the accelerated work/enhanced process reached between the GRP and the NDFP Negotiating Panels.
The proposed time-table shall be as follows:
The agenda for the next round of talks shall be the Preamble, Declaration of Principles and Bases, Scope and Applicability of the draft CASER.
In the next three months, the RWCs-SER and their respective subcommittees shall work on the topics of national sovereignty and patrimony, national industrialization and economic development, economic planning, monetary and fiscal policies and foreign and economic relations.
In the next succeeding quarter, the RWCs-SER and their respective subcommittees shall take up agrarian reform and agricultural development, rights of the working people, livelihood and social services and the final provisions.
In between the formal talks of the Negotiating Panels and the RWCs on SER meetings, the subcommittees jointly, and/or separately, may conduct public meetings and consultations.
8. Confidence-Building Measure
Release of Prisoners and Detainees
The Parties agree that the release of prisoners is a continuing confidence-building measure motivated by a mutual desire to improve the atmosphere for peace negotiations. As such, it is a benign act of magnanimity.
In accordance with the above, the GRP, following its judicial processes, shall expedite the release of prisoners or detainees ordered released by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2001.
The GRP shall review the cases of women, children, sick and elderly prisoners or detainees enumerated in the list submitted by KARAPATAN and determine whether they may be expeditiously released on humanitarian and/or legal grounds; and
Pursuant to Article 6, Part III of the CARHRIHL, the GRP shall review the cases of more than 300 prisoners or detainees listed by KARAPATAN and shall immediately release those found to have been charged, detained or convicted of common crimes contrary to the doctrine laid down in People vs. Hernandez (99 Phil. 515, July 18, 1956).
9. Exchange of Information and Complaints
The parties frankly exchanged information and complaints about matters that can adversely affect the peace negotiations. They agreed to look further into these matters and address them expeditiously through the JMC and other appropriate mechanisms.
10. Date, Venue and Agenda of the Next Round of Formal Talks
The two Parties agreed to hold the next round of formal talks in a mutually acceptable venue in March 2004 in consultation with the Royal Norwegian Government.
Done in Oslo, Norway on 14 February 2004
ROYAL NORWEGIAN GOVERNMENT
Third Party Facilitator