Remedies to Obstacles or Problems in the GPH-NDFP Peace Negotiations

Brief Presentation to Press Conference
Utrecht, The Netherlands, 14 November 2011

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
NDFP Negotiating Panel

Let me state to you the remedies that have been used or can be used to overcome or solve  10 major obstacles or problems in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations.
Let me refer quickly to every obstacle or problem and then state the remedy.

1.    Problem of diametrically opposite positions in a civil war

Remedy:  The Hague Joint Declaration (THJD) makes  it possible for the warring parties, GPH and NDFP,  to become negotiating parties. It declares that they are guided  by mutually acceptable principles of national sovereignty, democracy and social justice and that there shall be no precondition whatsoever to negate the inherent character and purpose of peace negotiations.  Both sides keep their respective political integrity in addressing the roots of the armed conflict by negotiating and agreeing on basic social, economic and political reforms.

2.    Problem of safety and immunity guarantees

Remedy: The Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) provides the guarantees for both sides.  Safety and immunity guarantees are necessary for the negotiators, consultants, staff and other personnel in the peace negotiations.  Safety of  such persons, documents and other things  is necessary before, during and after the peace negotiations. Immunity ensures that they do not become  criminally liable for what they utter or do in connection with the peace negotiations.

3.    Problem of venue in view of previous bad experience in the 1986 ceasefire talks

Remedy: The JASIG has stipulated foreign neutral venue, with facilitation of foreign governments.  During the ceasefire talks and ceasefire agreement in 1986 and early 1987,  the NDFP personnel and allies were put under surveillance by enemy intelligence.  Afterwards, a number of them were arrested, tortured and killed.  Peace negotiations in a foreign venue do not require mobilization of large security forces by the negotiating parties.  They are secure and economical for both sides.

4.    Problem of orderly meetings and consultations

Remedy: Ground Rules regarding these have been agreed upon.  To mention some of the rules, the chairpersons are responsible for the conduct of their respective panels and consultants and they co-preside  the formal meetings.  The chairpersons of the panels, teams or representatives thereof can engage in informal meetings and consultations to facilitate the formal meetings.  The third party facilitator is in charge of hosting and providing necessities for the talks and can attend the formal meetings.

5.    Problem of having substantive agenda towards a just and lasting peace

Remedy: THJD requires addressing the roots of the armed  conflict  by negotiating and forging agreements on basic social, economic and political reforms and sets  forth the substantive agenda: Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (already done);  Social and Economic Reforms; Political and Constitutional  Reforms; and End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces.  There is the Joint Agreement on the Formation, Sequence and Operationalization of the Reciprocal Working Committees for making the tentative agreements before finalization by the negotiating panels.  After a comprehensive agreement is approved by the panels, it is submitted to their respective principals for approval.

6.    Problem of legal and judicial framework

Remedy:  The CARHRIHL has used as main frame of reference the  international conventions on human rights and international humanitarian law and the negotiating panels adhere to their respective constitutions.  The prospective CASER avails of international conventions and the negotiating panels adhere to their respective constitutions. The prospective CAPCR will be guided by international law and will seek to make a new constitution on the basis of the constitutions of the GPH and NDFP and create new political mechanisms. The prospective EHDF will also be guided by international law and by a new constitution agreed upon by the GPH and NDFP.

7.    Problem of violations of JASIG and CARHRIHL

Remedy:  The NDFP has constantly demanded that justice be rendered to the JASIG-protected negotiating personnel who have been subjected  to imprisonment,  torture and  extrajudicial killings.  The  refusal of GPH to heed the demand for justice and the immediate release of the JASIG protected prisoners  can  be a just ground for the NDFP to withdraw from the peace negotiations but still the NDFP continues to demand and wait  for the GPH to comply with JASIG.   Like the entire people and the human rights, peace  and religious  organizations, the NDFP is demanding the release of more than 350 political prisoners  who have been tortured and imprisoned on trumped up  charges of common crimes in violation of CARHRIHL, particularly the Hernandez political offense doctrine.  The Aquino regime condones the human rights violations perpetrated under the Arroyo regime and is perpetrating its own.  The NDFP has the just ground to withdraw from the peace negotiations because the Aquino regime does not comply with the JASIG and CARHRIHL.

8.    Problem of demagogic demands for ceasefire to draw attention away from the  roots of the armed conflict

Remedy:  NDFP has offered truce and alliance on the basis of a general declaration of common intent in the spirit of encouraging and accelerating the peace negotiations.  Such offer is intended by the NDFP to counter the frequent demagogic demand of the GPH which obfuscates the need for addressing the roots of the armed conflict and tries to push the NDFP towards a position of surrender and pacification.  But if the GPH seriously takes the offer, then there can be an immediate truce and alliance in general terms that will certainly encourage and accelerate the forging of the three remaining comprehensive agreements on SER, PCR and EHDF.

9.    Problem of GPH  undermining  and seeking to nullify the THJD, the JASIG and even the CARHRIHL

Remedy:  NDFP simply has to uphold the existing joint agreements in opposition to the efforts of the GPH to undermine and nullify them.  The peace negotiations will not move forward or will even be terminated if the GPH does not remove the clique of clerico-fascists, military hawks and crooks that are in control of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.  Such clique is most responsible for the efforts to cast away the THJD on the false argument that it is a document of perpetual division, that the JASIG does not involve obligations but is only a matter of discretion for the GPH and that the CARHRIHL is not binding and effective, despite the approval of the principals. The current OPAPP has become notorious for attacking existing agreements with the NDFP or with the MILF. It is preoccupying itself with racketeering activities in connivance with certain paramilitary groups like the CPLA and the RPA-ABB which are misrepresented as rebel groups.

10.    Problem of  the Oplan Bayanihan, including US intervention and interference in the peace negotiations.

Remedy: NDFP exposes the US-designed Oplan Bayanihan as a military campaign plan masquerading as a peace and development campaign. We call on all peace-loving people to demand that the GPH, particularly the Aquino regime, engage in serious peace negotiations and build a just and lasting peace with the NDFP on the agreements already made.  According to Oplan Bayanihan,  the peace negotiations are merely a fig leaf on the naked brute force of the state.  The GPH is supposed to use sham peace negotiations if only to reinforce the psywar misrepresentation of the military campaign of suppression as peace and development operations.  The NDFP advises the GPH to engage in serious peace negotiations because the revolutionary forces are ready to frustrate the GPH strategy of deception and violence. ###