Instead of complying with agreements, the (Aquino government) engages
in vicious, deceptive propaganda attacks against the NDFP, and refuses
to seriously tackle issues on social, economic and political reforms
By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
14 November 2011
**Status and obstacles to the resumption of peace negotiations**
Since 1969, for 42 years, there has been an armed conflict in the
Philippines, between the armed forces of the Government of the
Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the revolutionary forces
represented by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines
After the dictator Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown in 1986, ceasefire
talks were held in 1986 in Manila, resulting in a 60-day ceasefire
agreement. Panels of the GRP and NDFP began talks to set an agenda for
substantive peace negotiations. After the massacre of peasants
marching for land reform in January 1987, these talks collapsed.
In 1992, preliminary talks were resumed to lay the ground for peace
negotiations and gave birth to The Hague Joint Declaration. The formal
peace negotiations began in Brussels in 1995. Since 1992, twelve
bilateral agreements have been forged between the GRP and the NDFP.
The NDFP engages in peace negotiations in order to address the roots
of the armed conflict. Land reform to benefit the peasantry, who
comprise 75% of the population of 94 million; national
industrialization to develop the backward agrarian economy and harness
the rich natural resources; these and other basic reforms are aimed
for by the NDFP in the peace talks.
The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 stipulates the substantive agenda
of human rights and international humanitarian law, socio-economic
reforms, political and constitutional reforms and end of hostilities
and disposition of forces. It is the framework agreement, declaring
that principles of national sovereignty, democracy and social justice
shall guide the two Parties. Neither Party may impose its
constitution. Capitulation may not be demanded.
In 1995, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG)
was signed. This is vitally important because it guarantees safety and
immunity to all participants in the peace process from both Parties.
The guarantees include safe and unhindered passage in all areas in the
Philippines and immunity from surveillance, arrest, detention and
other punitive actions.
In 1998, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and
International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) was completed. This is the
first of the four substantive agenda. This requires both Parties to
observe the highest standards of HR and IHL, such as those contained
in the Geneva Conventions. A Joint Monitoring Committee is mandated by
the CARHRIHL to monitor the implementation of CARHRIHL.
All three agreements, as with other agreements, were approved by the
respective Principals of both Parties.
In 2001 the Royal Norwegian Government came in as Third Party
Last February 2011, formal peace talks resumed in Norway after almost
seven years of impasse under the Arroyo regime. Both Parties agreed
that all or most of the 17 NDFP Consultants detained by the GRP/GPH in
violation of the JASIG must be released.
GPH refusal to release them has been a major obstacle to resumption of
peace talks because without compliance with JASIG, the panelists and
consultants cannot function. Respect for JASIG is needed to build
The next talks aim to take up socio-economic, political and
An offer of the NDFP for alliance and truce, presented last January,
has so far no adequate and concrete response from GPH President
Aquino. The offer is based on a 10-point program expressing the
fundamental aspirations of the Filipino people for land reform,
national industrialization, genuine national independence and
A very serious obstacle is the GPH's undermining of basic bilateral
agreements. In February, the GPH Panel, for the first time ever,
attacked The Hague Joint Declaration as a document of perpetual
division. It has also declared that the JASIG does not require
compliance. It is only at their whim that they shall release detained
NDFP consultants covered by the JASIG. It refuses to release the 350
political prisoners in accordance with the clear directive of the
Instead of complying with basic agreements, the GPH engages in
continuous, vicious, deceptive and even simplistic propaganda attacks
against the NDFP and avoids or refuses to seriously sit down and
tackle the questions and issues on social, economic and political
reforms. It perpetrates widespread human rights violations and has not
effectively staved off the climate of impunity.
A huge obstacle is the US government. Its Counter Insurgency Guide of
2009 is followed by the Aquino regime in its Internal Security Plan,
Oplan Bayanihan. This aims to militarily defeat the New People's Army
through the triad concept of combat, intelligence and civil-military
operations. Furthermore, the US stations interventionist troops in the
The NDFP is firmly committed to pursue peace negotiations that address
the roots of the armed conflict. It is determined to overcome the
problems and difficulties with effective remedies. It is resolute in
its decision to carry forward the people's struggle for national and