I. The Mission of the Special Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (SCPRU) of the House of Representatives
of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (hereinafter called the Peace Mission) and the Negotiating Panel of the
National Democratic Front of the Philippines (hereinafter called the NDFP Panel) held a dialogue from 23 to 25 June 2005 to
explore the resumption of formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
II. The NDFP Panel Chairperson Luis G. Jalandoni warmly welcomed the Peace Mission and introduced the members of the NDFP Negotiating Panel composed of Julie de Lima, Fidel V. Agcaoili and Coni K. Ledesma. Also present were NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison, political consultant Danilo F. Borjal, legal consultant Edre U. Olalia and head of the NDFP secretariat Ruth de Leon.
III. Rep. Satur C. Ocampo, Chairperson of the SCPRU, thanked the NDFP Panel for the warm welcome and introduced the members of the Peace Mission namely, Rep. Arthur D. Defensor, Senior Deputy Majority Leader, and Rep. Lorenzo R. Taņada III, Vice Chairperson of the SCPRU. Rep. Ocampo stressed that the Peace Mission is the first to be officially sent by the House of Representatives.
Rep. Ocampo pointed out that the SCPRU was formed only in the (current) 13th Congress, although a similar committee had been formed by the Senate in the 12th Congress. The SCPRU has jurisdiction within the House of Representatives over all matters directly and principally relating to negotiations and other policy and program initiatives in pursuit of the peace process, national reconciliation and unity.
The Peace Mission was given two tasks: a) contribute to efforts to help revive the formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and b) as per mandate of the House of Representatives as defined by Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr., seek to achieve within six months the objectives of an honorable negotiated political settlement of the 35-year-old conflict.
In this regard, the Peace Mission called for the resumption of formal talks as soon as possible and urged the GRP and NDFP Panels to accelerate the process towards attaining the objectives of a negotiated political settlement of the armed conflict. The Peace Mission suggested that the two panels endeavor to complete the negotiations on a comprehensive agreement on socio-economic reforms (CASER) within the third quarter of 2005. Furthermore, the Peace Mission suggested that the issue of ceasefire be taken up upon, or immediately after, the resumption of the formal talks.
IV. Luis Jalandoni presented an overview of the history of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. Then he cited as major agreements The Hague Joint Declaration, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), the Joint Agreement on the Formation, Sequence and Operationalization of the Reciprocal Working Committees and the Supplemental Agreement thereto and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). He brought out how the "terrorist" listing since August 9, 2002 and the threat thereof since November 2001 have impeded the negotiations on socio-economic reforms and the full operation of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC).
He further said that GRP officials such as then foreign secretary Blas Ople and recently foreign secretary Alberto Romulo have declared that the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army and the NDFP chief political consultant can be taken off the list only if the NDFP signs the capitulationist "Final Peace Agreement (FPA)" or later to agree to a prolonged ceasefire. As the NDFP refuses to sign the FPA or agree to a prolonged ceasefire without addressing the roots of the armed conflict, the threats of assassination on Prof. Jose Maria Sison and NDFP senior legal consultant Judge Romeo T. Capulong and the consultants and staffers have intensified. Furthermore, the killings and disappearances of human rights advocates, workers and peasants, progressive lawyers and church people have escalated.
With regard to the mandate of the Peace Mission, the NDFP Panel responded that the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations must conform with the Hague Joint Declaration, the Joint Agreement on the Formation, Sequence and Operationalization of the Reciprocal Working Committees (RWCs) and its Supplemental Agreement. Best efforts shall be exerted to accelerate the peace process and to produce a comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms within a relatively short period of time.
With regard to the suggestion of taking up the issue of ceasefire upon the resumption of the formal talks, the NDFP Panel responded that the subject of ceasefire can be discussed, taking full account of and consistent with the pertinent provisions of the Hague Joint Declaration, the Joint Agreement on the Formation, Sequence and Operationalization of the Reciprocal Working Committees (RWCs) and the Supplemental Agreement thereto and without disrupting the stipulated flow of the substantive agenda.
V. Resolving the Prejudicial Questions
The NDFP Negotiating Panel proposed that a document be done with its GRP counterpart with the following content in order to comply with existing agreements in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and to resolve the prejudicial questions raised by the NDFP:
1. In relation to the inclusion of the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army and the NDFP chief political consultant in the "terrorist" listings of certain foreign governments in 2002 and thereafter, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) reaffirm and reiterate their firm adherence to the principle of national sovereignty as enshrined in The Hague Joint Declaration and to all its pertinent provisions, Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHIHL), Oslo Joint Statement I and Oslo Joint Statement II.
2. In accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration, the Parties agree that the "terrorist" listings shall not be used to negate the inherent character and purpose of the peace negotiations.
Proposals on the subject of ceasefire shall be discussed by the special representatives of the principals of the GRP and the NDFP after the resumption of the formal talks in the peace negotiations.
3. In accordance with the JASIG, the GRP principal shall issue the appropriate policy statement and undertake urgent measures to assure the safety and immunity of NDFP panelists, consultants and other duly-authorized participants in the peace negotiations. The Parties express serious concern over the continuing dangers and threats facing the NDFP chief political consultant and the senior legal adviser, among others.
VI. The Peace Mission and the NDFP Panel mutually recognize the urgent need to resume the formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations in view of the serious socio-economic and political situation of the Philippines.
The formal talks must continue to address the roots of the armed conflict and arrive at agreements on social, economic and political reforms in order to bring about a just and lasting peace and a firm national unity to realize genuine national independence, development, democracy and social justice.
VII. The Peace Mission and the NDFP Panel agree that the designation of the CPP/NPA and the NDFP chief political consultant as "terrorist" by the US, the European Council and other foreign governments since August 2002 has jeopardized, impeded and adversely affected the continuity of the formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
They, therefore, agree that ways be found to overcome the unwelcome implications and consequences of the "terrorist" listing which are adverse to the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
VIII. Joint Monitoring Committee, Release of Political Prisoners and Indemnification of Human Rights Claimants
1. The Peace Mission and the NDFP Panel agree that the Joint Monitoring Committee shall immediately reconvene and discuss and act on the complaints filed before it.
2. The Peace Mission and the NDFP Panel agree that the GRP take immediate steps to comply with its commitment to release political prisoners in accordance with Oslo Joint Statement I and Oslo Joint Statement II.
3. The NDFP Panel cited the provision in the CARHRIHL pertinent to the indemnification of the successful plaintiffs in the human rights litigation against the Marcos estate in the US and inquired into the status of the legislative bill for the purpose.
The Peace Mission responded that the GRP is intent on compensating the victims and gave an update on the status of pertinent legislation on the matter. It said that the enforcement of the foreign judgment needs to be subjected to the applicable legal procedures but expressed openness to abbreviate the same in order to expedite the indemnification of the victims.
IX. Resumption of Formal Talks
The NDFP declares that it is ready to resume the formal talks with the GRP counterpart within the third quarter of 2005 in Oslo, Norway upon agreement to resolve the prejudicial questions in accordance with V of the above.
The formal talks shall be preceded by preliminary talks between the NDFP and GRP Panels.
FOR THE PEACE MISSION: FOR THE NDFP NEGOTIATING PANEL:
Rep. Satur C. Ocampo Luis G. Jalandoni Chairperson Chairperson
HOR Special Committee on Peace, NDFP Negotiating Panel Reconciliation and Unity
Rep. Arthur D. Defensor Fidel V. Agcaoili
Senior Deputy Majority Leader Member
House of Representatives NDFP Negotiating Panel
Rep. Lorenzo R. Taņada III Julie de Lima Vice Chairperson Member
HOR Special Committee on Peace, NDFP Negotiating Panel
Reconciliation and Unity
Coni K. Ledesma
NDFP Negotiating Panel
Hon. Jose C. de Venecia, Jr. Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Speaker, House of Representatives Chief Political Consultant
Government of the Republic NDFP
of the Philippines Negotiating Panel