GPH and NDFP to resume formal peace negotiations

February 15-21


Oslo, Norway


Posted: Feb. 13,  2011



■   Agence France Presse Interview with Prof. Jose Maria Sison


on the coming formal peace negotiations



■   Declaration of ceasefire by the CPP/NPA


■   Faking peace advocacy by Carol P. Araullo





Norwegian Amb. Ture Lundh, GPH Negotiating Panel Chair Alex Padilla and NDFP Negotiating Panel Chair Luis Jalandoni

Preliminary Talks, January 14-18, 2011


Photos and video clips courtesy of Philippine Peace Center
NDFP Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison GPH Panel Member Pablito Sanidad


Interview with Prof. Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant

By Mynardo Macaraig
Reporter, Manila Bureau
Agence France Presse
February 11, 2011

I am a reporter for the international news agency, Agence France Presse, Manila and we are doing a story on the impending peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

As someone familiar with the operations of the NDFP, I hope you would answer some questions on the prospects of the negotiations.

Some of these questions are as follows:

1. Do you think the talks can succeed considering the recent spate of attacks by the New People's Army (NPA) ?

JMS Reply: Please bear in mind that the armed conflict is two sided. The military, police and paramilitary forces of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) wage armed offensives against the New People´s Army (NPA) like the NPA does. There are peace negotiations precisely because there is a two-sided armed conflict going on. The peace negotiations can move forward and succeed if the The Hague Joint Declaration and subsequent agreements are reaffirmed and the two conflicting sides negotiate in order to address the roots of the armed conflict with basic social, economic and political reforms and thereby establish the basis for a just and lasting peace.

2. The government negotiating panel has put a three-year deadline for peace talks to succeed? Do you think that is realistic? Do you think the NDFP will demand an extension?

JMS Reply: In tactful terms, the GPH negotiating panel chairperson Alex Padilla has declared that best efforts be exerted by both sides to forge comprehensive agreements on the three remaining items in the substantive agenda and thus to make the over-all peace agreement within three years so that this can be implemented in earnest in the last three years of the Aquino regime. The GPH has not made any threatening deadline or ultimatum. I think that the three year estimate for making the comprehensive agreements is reasonable and realistic and may be even too long if the two sides are earnest in negotiating and making agreements along a patriotic and progressive line.

3. What will the NDFP ask for in the talks? Congressman Satur Ocampo has said that they will call for a complete reversal of Aquino's economic policies. If this is true, won't this virtually assure that the talks will reach a stalemate?

JMS Reply: The NDF asks for nothing from the GPH, except for what is just and beneficial to the Filipino people as a matter of national and democratic right. The two sides ought to agree on asserting and strengthening national independence, widening democracy by empowering the working people, carrying out economic development through land reform and national industrialization, promoting a patriotic, scientific and democratic culture and fostering international relations for peace and development.

The US-dictated policy of neoliberal globalization has brought about a severe crisis in the Philippines and entire world capítalist system. For his own good, Aquino should veer away from that policy as Satur Ocampo has suggested. He should also veer away from the policy of state terrorism and from the US Counterinsurgency Guide. If he is willing, the NDFP and the Filipino people can help him in overcoming the social and economic crisis through a patriotic and democratic alliance and truce.

4. Will the NPA ever agree to disarm even if the talks are successful? Will the NDFP negotiators walk out if the government calls for the disarming of the NPA?

JMS Reply: The end of hostilities and disposition of forces are the last item to be negotiated in the substantive agenda. This is not up for discussion in the forthcoming Oslo talks this February. The comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms and that on political and constitutional reforms must first be made by the two sides and approved by their principals before any side can propose the disarming of the other side.

Even in the future when the comprehensive agreements are reached on social, economic, political and constitutional reforms but are not yet fully implemented, it is best for the two sides to opt for a truce rather than for one side to demand the disarming of the other side. At the moment, it is premature to talk about disarming any side in the ongoing armed conflict.

5. The government has said there will be no pre-conditions in the talks. But are there issues that the NDF considers non-negotiable, where they will stop the talks unless the government gives in to them?

JMS Reply: The NDF agrees with the GPH that there should be no preconditions to negotiations, But existing agreements require the joint or separate compliance by the negotiating parties. Both sides have agreed that formal talks of the negotiating panels can be resumed upon the validity and full effectivity of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).The GRP-NDFP negotiations have produced twelve (12) agreements since 1992. These must be respected, reaffirmed and complied with so that the peace negotiations can move forward.

6. How much is the NDF willing to concede to keep the talks alive? Will they call on the NPA to stop their attacks? Will they drop such previous demands like the de-listing from the US and EU 'terror' lists?

JMS Reply: I do not know exactly what you mean by asking what the NDFP is willing to concede to keep the talks alive. The GPH has not demanded that the NPA stop the revolutionary armed struggle or else stop the peace negotiations. Neither has the NDFP asked the AFP, PNP and CAFGU to stop their counterrevolutionary armed struggle. There are prior items to negotiate in the substantive agenda.

Regarding the terrorist blacklists of foreign governments, the NDFP continues to demand that the GPH withdraw its treasonous acts of having requested the US, EU and other foreign governments to put the CPP, NPA and myself in the so-called terrorist lists and stop arguing shamelessly that those foreign governments have the sovereign right to intervene in the internal affairs of the Filipino people.

7. Do you see the possibility of the public turning against the NDF if they are seen as being intransigent?

JMS Reply: The Filipino people will always fight for their national and democratic rights and build and support such revolutionary forces as the CPP, NPA and NDFP. It is the Aquino regime that will become totally isolated and detested by the people if it continues to serve the interests of foreign monopoly capitalists, the big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists. No amount of doleouts, palliatives and psywar can prettify a puppet, corrupt, brutal and mendacious regime. The people are already asking why Aquino has failed to deliver on his promise of holding the Arroyo clique accountable for corruption and human rights violations.

8. Critics say the NDFP is engaging in talks simply for publicity mileage and have no real desire to seek peace. They predict that once they get enough attention, the NDFP will find an excuse to call off the talks? Do you think that is true? Will the NDF use the talks for other purposes?

JMS Reply: Would such critics prefer that the NDFP withdraw from the peace negotiations? Would not the NPA also make publicity mileage by intensifying the armed struggle? I think that the NDFP is negotiating in good faith. It has devoted so many years of hard work in the peace negotiations and has gone so far as to propose to the GPH a concise agreement for an immediate just peace through alliance and truce in order to strengthen national independence and transform the agrarian economy to an indusrial one through land reform and national industrialization. Of course, if the Aquino regime spurns such a patriotic and progressive demand of the people, then the revolutionary forces of the people would be further motivated to wage armed revolution and gain further ground in the crisis-stricken Philippines.###

Mynardo A. Macaraig
Agence France-Presse, Manila
tel. no. 632- 5810183, 632-7513857
cel. no. 09178142872


Signing of Joint Communique and Press interview, Oslo








Communist Party of the Philippines

Declaration of Ceasefire

February 12, 2011

We hereby declare to all commands and units of the New People's Army (NPA) and the people's militia a ceasefire order to be effective upon the reciprocal and concurrent ceasefire order from the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH, formerly designated as GRP) to its military, police and paramilitary forces, within the period of 0001H of 15 February 2011 to 23:59H of 21 February 2011.

In conformity with the mutual ceasefire between the GPH and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as a confidence and goodwill measure to mark the resumption of the formal talks after six years, all the commands and units of the NPA shall cease and desist from carrying out offensive operations against the armed units and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and paramilitary forces of the GPH.

While the mutual ceasefire is in effect, all commands and units of the NPA and the people's militia shall be in a defensive mode at both the strategic and tactical levels but shall remain vigilant against any encroachment on the territory of the people's democratic government, surveillance or offensive operations by the armed commands and units of the GPH, including those under the signboards of “peace and development”, “civil-military” and “peace and order operations”. Active self-defense shall be undertaken only in the face of clear and imminent danger and actual armed attack by the enemy.



All hostile actions or movements of the enemy armed forces shall be monitored and reported upwards in accordance with the command structure of the New People's Army and the leadership structure of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in order to provide continuous, timely and accurate information to the NDFP Negotiating Panel regarding compliance with or violations of the mutual ceasefire.

This entire ceasefire order is issued on humanitarian grounds and as an act of good will in order to allow the commands, units and personnel of the contending armies of the GPH and the NDFP to show their support for the peace negotiations conducted by the NDFP with the GPH and in order to hold consultations with the people on their demands for fundamental social, economic and political changes as the way to a just and lasting peace.

We hope that our act of goodwill and the mutual ceasefire between the GPH and the NDFP will improve the atmosphere for peace negotiations particularly upon the resumption of formal talks between the GPH and NDFP Negotiating Panels in Oslo on February 15-21, 2011 and inspire the release of political prisoners, the full implementation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, the end of human rights violations in consonance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

Central Committee
Military Commission
Communist Party of the Philippines

National Executive Committee
National Democratic Front of the Philippines





By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

Faking peace advocacy

The resumption of formal exploratory talks between the Philippine government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and formal talks between the GPH and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has spurred a flurry of activities in peace advocacy especially on the part of certain “civil society” groups working hand-in-hand with the government.

In the spirit of contributing to a healthy and conducive atmosphere for the peace talks between the government and the two armed revolutionary movements, allow us to dissect the framework and objectives of such peace advocacy and its usefulness in the current resumption of talks.

We understand that a series of consultations had been held upon the instance of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) or in cooperation between certain schools and non-government organizations (NGOs) and the OPAPP, AFP, PNP and other government agencies seeking an exchange of views on “peace and security” issues.

This is apparently part of the current "peace and security" (read: counterinsurgency) program of the Aquino government entitled Oplan Bayanihan and a complementary government-NGO plan for “peace constituency building”.

While Oplan Bayanihan is long on the rhetoric of shifting from an “enemy-centric” approach to one that is “people-centered” and of mobilizing all “stakeholders” in pursuing the Aquino government’s “Internal Peace and Security Plan” it all boils down to the same objective of suppressing the revolutionary forces and the people to keep them from overthrowing the status quo and replacing it with their vision of a just, prosperous, equitable and democratic system.

The basic problem is in the attitude towards armed conflict, or the relationship between "insurgency" and development. The government and the AFP have consistently harped on the line that the “insurgency” is the obstacle to development, to wit: "If only the armed rebels stop fighting the government and lay down their arms, there will be peace and development in our country".

This argument turns the truth upside down and stands it on its head. This kind of thinking is totally blind to the real roots of the armed conflict and is incapable of appreciating, much less grasping, the need to address these roots in order to achieve a just and lasting peace.

Concretely, Oplan Bayanihan says that “there is no direct causal link between low economic status and armed conflict”. What exists are “perceptions of relative deprivation” which are “correlated with the emergence and persistence of conflict in the Philippines”.

Thus, instead of acknowledging and addressing concrete socio-economic and political issues like landlessness, unemployment, grinding poverty and injustice that drive people to take up arms against the government, the government will work on changing “perceptions” that the system is not working for the people by bringing in or improving government services including the much ballyhooed “anti-poverty” programs pushed by the World Bank.

While OPAPP and the AFP seek to mobilize "civil society" support for and pay lip service to the attainment of a just and lasting peace, their statements appear to seek merely an end to violence without necessarily eradicating its only too real causes.

A document, “Working Paper for Peace Constituency Building”, prepared by the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (J3) for a planning meeting of government agencies and NGOs reflects this same point of view: “The resumption of the peace talks is a golden opportunity to finally put an end to the violent conflicts that have ‘hostaged’ (underscoring mine) the country’s development for so long…”



According to them, the goal is to “mobilize a constituency for peace and security (and) make the silent majority declare their commitment to peace.”

Yet the document is silent on what constitutes peace and security in the first place. Is it the suppression of dissent, the cooptation of revolutionaries and reformers and the entrenchment of the ruling system?

One specific objective is “(to) apply social pressure to (sic) armed groups to give up violent acts”.

Obviously this refers only to the CPP-NPA and the MILF since the AFP and the PNP are clothed with the authority to engage in acts of violence while cloaked with impunity in undertaking extrajudicial killings, torture and other human rights violations in the course of their so-called “internal security operations”.

But what about the kind of state terrorism resorted to, for example, by the AFP’s Special Operations Teams or SOTs in the rural and even some urban areas?

“The SOTs most of the time disguise themselves as rebels to sow terror on the civilian populace in order to malign the revolutionary groups. Development projects are implemented in a piece meal basis. It was not for the purpose of improving people’s life but as a tactic to pacify and neutralize the people’s cry for change.” (Total War, Ma. Socorro Diokno).

What underlies this brand of peace advocacy is a reprise of the “active non-violence” line peddled by the likes of die-hard anti-communists Jesuit priest Fr. Archie Intengan and PDSP’s Norberto Gonzales that condemns the revolutionary violence resorted to by an exploited and oppressed people against the violence of class exploitation and oppression but obscures the latter, much less draws the connection between the two.

The purpose is only too clear, the government hopes once more to appropriate for itself the mystique of “peace” advocacy while at the same time misrepresenting revolutionary movements as “violence-prone” and purportedly consumed by the desire to topple the government in order to seize power.

They would deny the revolutionary movements the political legitimacy of waging revolutionary armed struggle precisely to overhaul society for the betterment and liberation of the people.

Instead of just the OPAPP, AFP, PNP and other government instrumentalities repeating this, they would like the “silent majority” led by government-organized, -subsidized and otherwise -approved NGOs to echo this erroneous line.

In the final analysis, who are the real actors and beneficiaries of the quest for a just and lasting peace?

Is it not the Filipino people, especially the toiling masses, who, by varying means of struggle, are trying to achieve their aspirations for national and social liberation?

The peace negotiations must address the underlying causes of social unrest and armed conflict. Failing to do so, no amount of fake peace advocacy can change the unbalanced equation. #

Published in Business World
11-12 February 2011