NDFP International Information Office
8 September 2008
Addressing root causes of armed conflict is the path to peace -- NDFP
In pursuit of their mission as advocates and “bridge builders for
peace”, a delegation of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP)
held a dialogue with the Negotiating Panel and consultants of the
National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) last 2 September
2008 in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
The PEPP delegation was composed of co-convenors Archbishop Antonio
Ledesma and Ms. Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz-Duremdes, and members Bishop
Deogracias Iñiguez, Bishop Efren Tendero, Sister Cres Lucero and Ofelia
Cantor. Fr. Michel Beckers of the Norwegian Ecumenical Peace Platform
joined the PEPP delegation.
The NDFP side was composed of Luis Jalandoni, Chairperson of the NDFP
Negotiating Panel and panel members Fidel Agcaoili, Julieta de Lima and
Coni Ledesma. Also present were Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose
Maria Sison, member of the NDFP Monitoring Committee Danilo Borjal and
Ruth de Leon, head of the NDFP Panel Secretariat.
Archbishop Ledesma and Ms. Ruiz-Duremdes presented the role of the PEPP
as one of bridge building for peace between the Government of the
Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP. On behalf of the NDFP,
Luis Jalandoni welcomed the visit of the PEPP and the role it has
The PEPP and the NDFP held frank discussions on peace negotiations,
ceasefire, vision of the NDFP, land reform and national
industrialization, and revolutionary taxation.
Jalandoni reiterated the position of the NDFP that the GRP-NDFP peace
negotiations are ongoing because neither side has terminated the Joint
Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and that what needs
to be done is the resumption of formal talks upon the overcoming of the
13 impediments which had been presented by the NDFP to the GRP in the
presence of the Norwegian third party facilitator.
The PEPP and the NDFP agreed that there is an urgent need to resume the
formal talks in the peace negotiations and such resumption must be based
on prior agreements between the two parties. They also agreed that a
just and lasting peace in the Philippines could only be attained by
addressing the root causes of the armed conflict.
Jalandoni said that the NDFP is willing to hold informal talks in order
to prepare the resumption of formal talks as soon as possible in
accordance with the existing agreements between the GRP and NDFP. He
declared that informal talks should not become indefinite and paralyze
the substantive agenda already set by previous agreements.
He pointed out that negotiations on social and economic reforms should
be resumed immediately and should be followed by negotiations on
political and constitutional reforms. He further pointed out that the
question of prolonged ceasefire should not precede the question of
substantive reforms and that surrender or even ceasefire negotiations
should not replace peace negotiations as defined by The Hague Joint
He informed the PEPP
delegation that the NDFP had proposed to the GRP a
10-point concise agreement on the principles for immediate peace, but
unfortunately, the GRP did not respond. He defined briefly the vision of
the NDFP for a just peace as the realization of national independence
and empowerment of the people in the political field and national
industrialization and land reform in the economic field.
Prof. Sison pointed out that all the impediments to the peace
negotiations can be resolved by complying with the existing agreements.
He said that the GRP and NDFP can overcome the terrorist blacklisting of
the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People's Army (NPA)
and the NDFP Chief Political Consultant, in accordance with the Oslo
Statements I and II, by simply making a joint declaration that no
foreign government should breach Philippine sovereignty and territorial
integrity by interfering with legal and political matters that are
strictly internal to the Philippines.
The NDFP panel requested the PEPP to call on the GRP to comply with the
JASIG and release NDFP consultants Angie Ipong, Elizabeth Principe and
Randall Echanis, the surfacing of consultants who have been
involuntarily disappeared and the lifting of false charges against the
NDFP Negotiating Panel Chairperson and consultants like Vicente Ladlad
and Rafael Baylosis.
Agcaoili, Chairperson of the NDFP Monitoring Committee, said that the
NDFP had been calling for the meeting and operationalization of the
Joint Monitoring Committee but the GRP never responded positively.
Commenting on the reported criticism of the GRP Panel that the JMC was
becoming a “scoreboard” of complaints, he deplored the GRP’s submission
of hundreds of false and invalid complaints with the obvious intent of
inflating the number of incidents against the forces of the NDFP,
thereby mocking the integrity of the Joint Monitoring Committee and
proving the attitude of impunity by the GRP.
Prof. Sison said that the basic problem in pushing the resumption of
formal talks is the lack of interest of Ms. Gloria Arroyo in the peace
negotiations, and the heavy hand of militarists like Eduardo Ermita and
Norberto Gonzales on the GRP Negotiating Panel. He observed that Arroyo
had apparently closed the door to peace negotiations by demanding
demobilization, disarmament and rehabilitation as preconditions. He
noted that this latest of the GRP preconditions aggravated the previous
precondition of prolonged ceasefire which was already a gross violation
of The Hague Joint Declaration.
RUTH DE LEON
NDFP International Information Office
GMA-TV news -NDFP, church group meet over roots of