Peace Advocates' Urgent Appeal:
Resume Formal Peace Talks Now!

 

Quezon City , March 28, 2014

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PRESS RELEASE

March 28, 2014

 

For the Sake of Peace, Resume Peace Talks Now!

(A Statement of the Pilgrims for Peace on the Resumption of Peace Negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front in the Philippines)

 

We, members of Pilgrims for Peace, want peace, harmony and prosperity in our land.

 

It has been quite some time now, 45 years to be exact, that armed conflict betweent he GPH and the CPP-NPA-NDFP has been going on with no let-up. Hundreds if not thousands of people, combatants and non-combatants alike, have died, civilian communities have been displaced and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law are rife.  Many of them have lost their lives in the quest for a just and lasting peace so that fellow Filipinos may live a life that is full and fulfilling.

 

The root causes of the armed conflict must be addressed.

 

The arrest of the Tiamzons and five others have once again brought to the fore and back into the general public’s attention the armed conflict as well as the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the issues that have stalled the peace talks for about three years.

 

 

The peace talks have been stalled over issues on the compliance with or violation of bilateral agreements entered into by both parties, especially The Hague Joint Declaration, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

 

We call on both parties to clear the air by sitting down to discuss and resolve disagreements, differences in interpretation, alleged and actual violations of the agreements and  avail of the provisions and mechanisms they had put in place precisely to remove such obstacles in order to advance the peace negotiations.

 

By going back to the table of  peace negotiations that will substantially discuss and address the roots of the armed conflict, the Filipino people will have every reason to be optimistic once more.

 

Currently, the GPH-NDFP peace talks are at an impasse but not terminated.  In fact, the negotiating panels of both the GPH and the NDFP have not been dissolved. But while the two panels are not talking, violations of human rights are increasing and intensifying, poverty grips majority of our people and hunger remains a daily reality that afflicts the poorest of all.  This must push both panels to resume the talks and tackle the pending second substantive agenda on Socio-Economic Reforms.

 

We want peace in our land. We want harmony among our people. We want progress for our country. These will come to pass only when we start working together, feeding on justice and righteousness.

 

We call on both parties to honor all their prior bilateral agreements, big and small, especially the framework agreement or The Hague Joint Declaration, the CARHRIHL and the JASIG in order for the peace negotiations to advance and reach its desired conclusion of a just and lasting peace

  

Reference:

Rev. Fr. Rex Reyes Jr.

Co-Chairperson

09339604907

 

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Streetwise
By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

Honoring agreements, a prerequisite to peace

The signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) by the Philippine Government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) yesterday, is being hailed as “historic” and ushering in the dawn of peace in Muslim Mindanao.  In this light, there is understandable questioning and speculation about the implications of the arrest last weekend of spouses Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria-Tiamzon, alleged by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as the “No. 1” and “No. 2” of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), to “the other peace” (PDI editorial, 27 March 2014); that is, the peace negotiations between the GPH and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the umbrella alliance that represents the CPP-NPA and several other national democratic underground mass organizations in the peace talks.

So far, the preponderant voices from both sides are pessimistic.

The Aquino government asserts that the arrests are quite legal and regular, proof positive of the proficiency of state security forces in running after the “enemies of the state”. GPH claims that the couple is not covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) under the GPH-NDFP peace talks because of the following: Wilma Austria-Tiamzon jumped bail during her arrest in 1994; both are facing several criminal charges; and Benito Tiamzon used an alias in his safe conduct pass.  The GPH has unilaterally declared that the JASIG is inoperative for all those who used aliases because of the failure of the process attempted in 2011 to verify if the persons claimed by the NDFP to be JASIG-protected were really so.

More important, the GPH views the arrests as a major, if not fatal, blow to the viability of an armed movement that government claims is continually dwindling in terms of adherents and whose ideological and political moorings have been undercut by a “daang matuwid” government and hefty economic growth figures.

And while the GPH says it continues to keep its door open to the peace talks, it insists that the intransigence and insincerity of the NDFP is what is dooming any hope for the resumption of the peace negotiations which, while not yet officially or technically terminated, has been at an impasse since mid-2011, soon after the reopening of the formal talks under the BS Aquino administration.

The NDFP for its part stands pat on its position that the Tiamzon couple’s arrest is illegal and violates the JASIG signed by the two parties in 1995.  The two are bona fide NDFP consultants holding documents of identification duly acknowledged by previous GPH Peace Panel heads, Howard Dee and Sylvestre Bello, which act as safe conduct passes giving them immunity from surveillance, arrest and prosecution while they perform their tasks in the ongoing peace talks.

Wilma Austria-Tiamzon is publicly known since the Fidel V. Ramos administration as a key participant in the peace process (in fact she was released on recognizance as a confidence-building measure for the peace negotiations).  She holds a safe conduct pass and is listed under her real name in the list of JASIG-protected persons, a copy of which is held by the GPH.  Therefore no other verification process is necessary.

Benito Tiamzon was in possession of his safe conduct pass under the name Crising Banaag but this was disregarded and even confiscated by the arresting team.  This same name with the corresponding specific identification number appears in the list of GPH-acknowledged JASIG-protected holders of documents of identification.

As to the criminal charges facing the two, JASIG provides that such charges are held in abeyance while the peace negotiations are ongoing, an arrangement legally recognized by the GPH courts in the cases of other well-known NDFP consultants who are currently out on bail.  In many other instances, the mechanism set up by the two Parties to facilitate resolution of the cases had resulted in the withdrawal of charges and dismissal of the cases inasmuch as the arrests and detention were usually illegal, charges were trumped-up and evidences fabricated or weak. However this mechanism was unilaterally dissolved by the GPH in June 2012.

The JASIG is a solemn and binding agreement that the GPH cannot just set aside unilaterally and on the basis of its own determination.  There are provisions as to how this bilateral agreement shall be terminated.  Without the JASIG, the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations could not have taken off and continued despite numerous suspensions and a couple of GPH-initiated terminations.

In the first place, JASIG was set up by the GPH and NDFP precisely “to facilitate the peace negotiations, create a favorable atmosphere conducive to free discussion and free movement during the negotiations, and avert any incident that may jeopardize the peace negotiations” learning from the 1986-87 peace negotiations which collapsed when the safety of the negotiators as well as the process itself was put in great peril.

At the same time, the integrity and security of the agreement itself was safeguarded with the explicit provision that the JASIG can only be terminated by either Party issuing a written notice of termination to the other Party, and which will only take effect 30 days after receipt of the notice by the other Party. Since no such written notice of termination has so far been issued by either Party, the JASIG remains in full force and effect, binding on the GPH and the NDFP to this moment.
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Inquirer News: Jose Ma. Sison calls for resumption of peace talks

 

Bulatlat:Arrest of Tiamzon couple not good for peace talks – church peace advocates
 

Furthermore, in the event that the JASIG is terminated, the agreement provides that “All immunities acquired by virtue of this Joint Agreement shall remain in full force and effect even after the termination of this Joint Agreement, provided said immunities shall not cover acts which are contrary to the purposes of the peace negotiations and outside and beyond involvement or participation in the peace negotiations.”

Clearly, recent statements by some high government officials that the Tiamzon couple cannot be covered by JASIG protection because the JASIG is no longer in effect because there are no talks are false and have no basis in the agreement itself.

But is the NDFP setting as a precondition to the resumption of the stalled formal peace talks, the release of the Tiamzon couple?  No, the NDFP is demanding the release of the Tiamzons as a matter of obligation on the part of the GPH, in compliance with the JASIG and other solemn bilateral agreements it has entered into with the NDFP.

In any kind of negotiation, be it a business contract, a labor-management agreement, or a peace treaty, there is nothing more natural, plainly obvious, logical, and commonsensical than for one party to demand of the other party compliance with whatever agreements are entered into.  In peace negotiations where smaller agreements form the building blocks toward a final and comprehensive peace agreement, the integrity of the former are essential to the solidity and efficacy of the final agreement. Simply put, how can any party expect the other party to honor its obligations in a final comprehensive agreement when the latter cannot or does not comply with previous smaller agreements?

In the final analysis, what really matters in the peace negotiations is how serious both Parties really are in finding common grounds of cooperation in effecting fundamental reforms needed to eradicate the social,  economic and political roots of the armed conflict.

Unfortunately, what we are hearing and seeing in the GPH pronouncement and actions, regarding the arrest, continuing detention and prosecution of the Tiamzons, is a complete lack of interest if not intent in resuming peace talks with the NDFP.  #

Published in Business World
28-29 March 2014
 

           

Inquirer News: Joma Sison on Tiamzons' arrest: It may be the last straw
 
Davao Today News: Duterte, Bello to gov’t: honor JASIG
     

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Urgent Appeal: Resume Formal Peace Talks Now!
Statement of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform


The Philippi. Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), the largest ecumenical formation of church leaders in the country. is saddened by the fading prospects in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The recent arrest of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, alleged by the Armed Forces of the Philippines to be the chair and secretary general respectively, of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), will put a damper again to the formal peace talks that restarted so optimistically in February 2011.

We have now been witnessing a flurry of accusations and counter-accusations between the two parties. The NDFP argues that the arrest was a violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). The members of the government panel, on the other hand are claiming that the couple are not covered by the agreement. Amidst all of these. the PEPP hopes that this will not lead It the total breakdown of the peace negotiations. As it is, the talks have already been stalled too long. We call on both sides to go back to the negotiating table, and talk about the next steps that can be take, to forge a path to a just and enduring peace.

We pray that both panels take to heart that negotiations towards peace are always incremental, a historical building process that takes years, sometimes with great steps forwards and at others times slow and tedious. In this movement towards a negotiated peace, the gains of the past should never be discarded. Both parties need to keep building on the platforms that have been threshed out through principled negotiations. Every time a gain is made, it needs to be fixed and safeguarded in place.

We call on both panels to continue to work towards peace and to seriously consider the very root causes of why there is ongoing-armed conflict in our country. The PEPP maintains that principled negotiations not the surrender of one party to the other, is what makes for genuine and enduring peace.

Peace is elusive, but it can be achieved. As the scriptures say, peace is God's gift, but it is the responsibility of persons of goodwill to make it a flourishing reality — a flourishing reality where food is on every table, people have decent houses and adequate livelihood, and where no one is afraid. We call on the GPH and the NDFP to help make this flourishing reality hem fruit "And the seed whose fruit is justice and is sown in peace by those who make peace" (James 3:18).

We also call on the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) as the chosen facilitator to immediately do conciliation work so that the formal peace process can get back on track.
In sincere prayer and petitions, we raise our concerns to our God of Peace.

S
igned and Issued on the 28th day of March, 2014,

ARCHBISHOP ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, S.J., D.D.
Co-chairperson, PEPP

MS. SHARON ROSE JOY RUIZ-DUREMDES
Co-chariperson, PEPP

MOST REV. DEOGRACIAS S. INIGUEZ, JR., D.D.
Head of the Secretariat, PEPP


 

 

 

 

     
     
           




Press Release
March 28, 2014
 

Overcome Obstacles; Resume Peace Talks Now!
“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Ps. 34:14

The Promotion of Church People’s Response joins the various peace advocates in calling for the Government of the Philippines(GPH) and National Democratic Front (NDF) to immediately resume peace talks to address the roots of the armed conflict. We further call to overcome obstacles that impede the desire of the people for just and lasting peace.

We are urging both parties to seek ways to resolve the contentious issues based on their previously signed agreements, notably on the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees(JASIG) , in the wake of the arrest of alleged leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines. We likewise encourage them to refrain from issuing unwarranted statements that may cripple the negotiations.
 

We are reminding those people who are members of the negotiating panel that they should act as peace seekers instead of justifying the acts of their security forces. They must, even on their personal capacity, exert effort to make peace negotiations work.

We believe that the full implementation of the previously signed agreement especially JASIG, provides both parties the avenue to resolve any differences. This will help sort out differences of both parties in the negotiating table.

It is the interest of the people that must be forwarded in any peace process and not the aim to eliminate the other party.

It is from this belief that we as church people from different Christian churches strongly demand to both parties to end the impasse, immediately resume peace talks and proceed to the socio-economic agenda as we continue aspire for a just and lasting peace in our land.#

Reference:

Mr. NardySabino
Secretary General
 

           
     
     

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Philippine Peace Center
4/F Kaija Bldg. 7836 Makati Ave cor Valdez St.,Makati City, MM
Tel-(632) 8993439; Fax-(632) 8993416
Press Statement 28March 2014
Reference: Rey Claro Casambre, 09238109428

Illusions of peace, delusions of success

The signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), coming close on the heels of the arrest of the alleged communist top leaders Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria-Tiamzon, has filled the air with great optimism and euphoria, especially in government circles. The end to armed conflict not only in Mindanao but in the entire country appears to be just around the corner.

It would seem that the government under President Benigno S. Aquino is about to achieve what five previous administrations have aimed for but failed to do: first, convince the MILF through peace negotiations to lay down their arms and accept autonomy within the political ambit of the Philippine republic; second, compel the CPP-NPA-NDFP through relentless military operations to capitulate with or without peace negotiations. These would spell the success of the Aquino government’s “peace and security” program Oplan Bayanihan, its counterinsurgency campaign,patterned on the “2009 US Counterinsurgency Guide”.

Coming on the eve of the visit next month by US President Obama, these claimed twin victories will no doubt be gifted by the Aquino regime to its patron with expectation of being rewarded with his fulsome praise, congratulations and continued backing.

Unfortunately, the images being conjured that the long quest for peace on two fronts is finally over remains more illusion than fact.

The failure of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) reminds us that peace agreements do not necessarily bring about a just and last peace. It remains to be seen whether the CAB will finally satisfy the aspiration and demand of the Bangsamoro to exercise their right to self-determination, the core issue in the struggles of both the MNLF and MILF. Will the CAB put to an end and rectify the historical injustice inflicted on the Moro people by what they call the “imperial central Philippine republic”?

MILF leaders speak with cautious and guarded optimism, subtly warning that the completion of the “normalization” process – the final demobilization of their Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces – is contingent on their enjoying in reality and not just on paper their right to self determination.
As for the armed struggle being waged by the CPP-NPA-NDFP, the past 45 years have clearly shown that no amount of arrests, detention and even assassination of their top leaders cannot decimate the revolutionary movement and bring about peace, not to mention a just and lasting one.

Despite avowals to the contrary, it has become more evident than ever that the GPH is no longer interested in resuming peace talks with the NDFP. It continues to disregard and blatantly violate prior bilateral agreements with the NDFP; the latest instance is the arrest and continued detention of the Tiamzons despite their declared and proven protection and immunity under the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

With the Bangsamoro armed threat out of the way and with increased US military presence and facilities, the GPH is preparing to redeploy AFP and other state security forces from Moro areas to deal with the CPP-NPA-NDF, all the better to contain, neutralize and eventually render them “inconsequential”. Not a few in the AFP are even now talking about totally “crushing the communist rebels”, with no less than the Chief of Staff, Gen. Bautista, openly calling for mass surrenders.

The real casualty in this scenario is not the armed revolutionary movement but the peace negotiations that have aimed to resolve the armed conflict by putting in place basic social, economic and political reforms that can eradicate the roots of the armed conflict.

Estimating that the arrest of the Tiamzons would greatily weaken the revolutionary forces, the AFP and GPH now feel closer to their goal of forcing the CPP-NPA-NDFP to capitulate over the negotiating table or outside. The GPH feels it can now set aside all prior bilateral agreements with the NDFP and force a “Final Peace Agreement” within the framework of the GPH Constitution and legal processes, minus fundamental social, economic and political reforms. This explains why the GPH continues to refuse peace talks resumption.

But no matter how strongly the GPH believes otherwise, the truth is that genuine peace in the country can only be achieved by addressing the roots of the armed conflict, by replacing the ruling socio-economic and political system with a genuinely free and democratic one. Reeling under the weight of the worsening global and domestic economic crisis aggravated by combined natural and man-made disasters, the people will certainly continue to fight for a better Philippine society in all arenas and through all possible means.

The Philippine Peace Center thus joins all advocates for genuine peace in the call for the GPH and the NDFP to immediately resume peace talks and resolve the impasse on the basis of The Hague Joint Declaration, the CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law) and the JASIG (Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees) so that the Filipino people may continue to avail of the peace negotiations as a venue for ending the armed conflict and achieving a just and lasting peace. #
      

 

     
     
           
     
 
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 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON THE JASIG

Philippine Peace Center

26 March 2014

 

 

Q1: What is the JASIG?

 

A1:  JASIG stands for “Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees”.  It is an agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH, formerly GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, signed by their respective negotiating panels in February 24, 1995. 

 

JASIG came into effect and became binding on the two Parties upon its approval by their principals on April 10, 1995 (NDFP Chairperson Mariano Orosa) and April 25, 1995 (GRP President Fidel Ramos).

 

Two additional agreements were entered into by the two Parties providing implementing rules related to the JASIG:  The “Additional Implementing Rules Pertaining to the Documents of Identification” (June 26, 1996) and “Additional Implementing Rules of the JASIG Pertaining to the Security of Personnel and the Conduct of Consultations in Furtherance of the Peace Negotiations” (March 16, 1998).

 

Q2: Why is the JASIG essential to the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations?   What purpose does it serve?

 

A2: JASIG provides safety and immunity guarantees that protect the rights of negotiators, consultants, staffers, security and other personnel who participate in the GRP‑NDFP peace negotiations, in order to facilitate the peace negotiations, create a favorable atmo­sphere conducive to free discussion and free movement during the negotia­tions, and avert any incident that may jeopardize the peace negotiations.

 

Without the JASIG, negotiations would not be possible.  Without the JASIG, persons involved in the negotiations would always feel or actually be under a cloud of threat and would be  unable to perform their functions freely.  The negotiations would always be at risk of being disrupted and totally jeopardized.

 

Q3:  Who are covered or protected by JASIG?  What is the Document of Identification (DI) or safe conduct pass?

A3:  Persons designated by either Party as being involved in the peace negotiations and acknowledged by the other Party are “duly accredited persons” enjoying the protection of JASIG.  Such persons shall be issued documents of identification (DIs) or safe conduct passes, which contain the following:

-          official seal of the issuing party,

-          the bearer's photograph,

-          name, sex, date and place of birth, height, color of hair and eyes, distinguishing physical features,

-          the assigned number,

-          designation or duty in the peace negotiations (panel member, consultant, RWC member, staffer, courier, security or other personnel) , and

-          the period of validity.

 

Each party shall provide the other with the name, designation and assigned number on each document of identification issued in accordance with this Joint Agreement.

 

Q4: What safety and immunity guarantees does a duly accredited person enjoy?

 

A4: All duly accredited persons are guaranteed immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation or any other similar punitive actions due to any involvement or participation in the peace negotiations.

 

The immunity guarantees shall cover all acts and utterances made in the course of and pursuant to the purposes of the peace negotiations.

 

Upon presentation by the duly accredited person to any entity, author­ity or agent of the party concerned, the document of identification or safe conduct pass shall be honored and respected and the duly accredited person shall be accorded due recognition and courtesy and allowed free and unhin­dered passage   

 

All duly accredited persons who are already publicly known to be involved in the GRP‑NDFP peace negotiations shall be free from surveillance and shall be allowed freely to consult with the leaders and entities of the party concerned in the Philippines and abroad.

 

Q5:  Is the JASIG still in effect?

 

A5:  Yes. The JASIG is binding and effective on both parties until it is terminated by either party through an official notice of termination to the other Party, and shall be considered terminated 30 days after receipt of the other party.  In the 19 years since the JASIG took effect, it has been terminated only once, in July 1999, 30 days after the GRP issued a notice of termination of the peace negotiations in June. The JASIG is co-terminus with the  peace negotiations.

The GPH under Estrada announced its unilateral suspension of the JASIG in 1999, and under Arroyo in 2005, but there is nothing in the JASIG which provides for its unilateral suspension, and so such suspensions were invalid and were violations of JASIG.

 
 

Q6: What will happen to the immunity guarantees once the JASIG is terminated?

A6: The JASIG categorically provides that the immunities shall remain in effect even after it has been terminated. 

 

Q7: Must a duly accredited person be physically present or visibly participating in the negotiations to remain JASIG protected?

 

A7: No. There is no provision in the JASIG nor in its Additional Implementing Rules that requires one to be physically present or visibly participating in the negotiations to be duly accredited or to be JASIG-protected. In the case of the NDFP, many of its consultants, staffers, couriers are in the revolutionary underground and perform tasks for the peace negotiations in such capacity.  Many of the consultations being conducted by the NDFP are done in the guerrilla areas beyond observation by the GPH.

 

Thus an NDFP consultant who is released from detention and returns  to the underground to resume one’s  functions including those in relation to the peace negotiations remains  duly accredited or JASIG-protected.

 

The GRP/GPH under administrations previous to the BS Aquino administration had acknowledged and recognized those designated by the NDFP as duly accredited or JASIG-protected persons even if  they were in the underground, not physically present in the talks nor visibly participating in the negotiations.  It is only under the BS Aquino administration that the GPH has unilaterally demanded that persons designated by the NDFP as duly accredited should not go underground, should “remain visibly aboveground” or “visibly participating in the peace negotiations”. 

 

Q8:  Can a person facing charges in court or already detained in jail be designated as a duly accredited or JASIG-protected person?

 

A8:  Yes. There is nothing in the JASIG that disqualifies a detained person or one who is facing charges in court from being designated by either Party as a duly-accredited or JASIG-protected  person.  In fact, the JASIG provides that “In all (court) cases involving duly accredited persons, the prosecutors shall move for the suspension, during the peace negotiations, of criminal proceed­ings or processes including arrest and search, for acts allegedly committed prior to the effectivity of this Joint Agreement.” 

 

     
     

  

Q9: Aside from the JASIG, is there any other issuance by the GPH that binds it to the implementation of JASIG?

 

A9: Executive Order 276 issued by then President Ramos on September 25, 1995, “Formalizing the Inter-Agency Security and Immunity Guarantees for the GRP-NDFP Peace Talks” recognizes the “the need for a permanent Inter-Agency Committee to provide a mechanism for coordination and joint decision making and problem-solving and monitoring of the JASIG implementation”.  This permanent committee was explicitly tasked to “oversee the implementation of the JASIG and to resolve problems and issues arising from the same.”

 

In practice, the meetings of the GRP’s SIG Committee and the corresponding team formed by the NDFP for the purpose provided an effective mechanism for resolving issues and problems that arose especially with the arrest of NDFP-designated consultants and other duly accredited persons.

 

Executive Order 276 remains valid and binding on the GPH until today since there has been no issuance to repeal or amend it. Unfortunately, the GPH Negotiating Panel unilaterally declared in the GPH-NDFP informal talks in June 2012 that it would no longer avail of this mechanism in resolving JASIG-related issues.    

 

Q10: Why has the JASIG become the center of controversy in the GPH-NDFP Negotiations, to the point that the non-resolution of the controversy has caused a 3-year impasse in talks?

 

A10: The controversy revolves around the issue of compliance or non-compliance (i.e., violation) with JASIG in relation to persons detained by the GPH who the NDFP claims are JASIG-protected and must be released.  Both Parties had agreed, in their February 2011 Joint Statement, that the GPH shall take measures to release from detention “most if not all” of the detained persons claimed by the NDFP to be CJASIG-protected persons  “subject to verification, or for humanitarian or other practical purposes.”  

The GPH claimed in August 2011 that the process for verifying whether or not the detained persons are duly-accredited or not (by checking the real identities from DIs with photographs deposited in a bank) had failed due to the NDFP’s violation of the JASIG procedure, and concluded that the JASIG has been rendered inoperative. The NDFP for its part explained that it had not violated the JASIG procedure, since the use of electronic data in place of hard copies were legally admissible, and that the failure to open the files was a result of the confiscation by the Dutch police of the decrypting files. The NDFP further argued that this was not the sole method of verification, especially for those publicly known participants and those who used their true name in the documents.  

 

Eventually the  GPH Panel Chair Padilla was compelled to clarify that the failed procedure only applied to those using assued names in the their DIs but does not apply to those who are already publicly known and acknowledged to be participating in the negotiations and are thus duly accredited persons.

 

The NDFP proposed that the list of NDFP-designated accredited persons including those using assumed names be reconstituted, in accordance with JASIG provisions, but the GPH has so far refused to do so.

 

Q11: Is there a possibility of resolving the issues on JASIG and thus breaking the impasse in the talks? Does the JASIG provide for means by which controversies and disagreements can and should be resolved?

 

A11: Yes. The impasse can be broken if both Parties agree to hold consultations and/or informal talks to discuss the alleged violations and the disagreements mentioned above, including reconstituting the list of duly-accredited or JASIG-protected persons.   Section III, General Provisions, Articles 2 and 3 explicitly stipulate that violations, disagreements and ambiguities in interpretations and applications of the provisions  “shall promptly be the subject of consultations between the two panels of the negotiating parties in order to remove im­pediments to the peace negotiations... in accordance with the letter and spirit of the HAGUE JOINT DECLARATION and the pertinent provisions of the BREUKELEN JOINT STATEMENT.

 

Informal talks can also be held to discuss how the “special track” proposed by the NDFP in January 2011 for alliance and truce based on a common general declaration for unity, peace and development can be  

resumed.

 

Breaking the impasse and resuming the formal peace talks will bring the two Parties back to the negotiations on social and economic reforms, which have all the more urgency and importance with the continuing  global and domestic economic crises and the disasters that continue to wreak destruction and hardships on our people. 

 

Q12:  What are the prospects for resuming informal talks in the near future?

 

A12:   Both GPH and NDFP have repeatedly announced that they are still open to continuing the peace negotiations. Neither one has issued a notice of termination to the other Party, although the GPH had announced in Aril-May 2013 that they will only return to the regular track under a new framework.

 

The NDFP has further proposed that informal talks be held this May 2014. The Third Party Facilitator has announced that they are always ready and willing to continue with their facilitating role, and in particular to support formal or informal talks whenever the two Parties agree to hold one. The only  lacking ingredient now is the GPH’s concurrence with the proposal.

 

  

Reference:  Rey Claro C. Casambre, Executive Director

                      09238109428;  8993439;  8993416 (fax)

 

           
           

 

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