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NDFP Negotiating Panel Arrives in Oslo for Consultations with Norwegian Government
4 July 2006

The Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, led by Chairperson Luis Jalandoni, has arrived in Oslo, Norway for consultations with officials of the foreign ministry of the Norwegian government from July 3 to 6.

The other members of the Panel are Fidel V. Agcaoili, Coni Ledesma, Julie de Lima and Asterio Palima. The chief of staff of the Panel is Ruth de Leon.

Also present for the consultations are the chief political consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison, senior legal adviser Justice Romeo T. Capulong of the NDFP Negotiating Panel and consultant to the Panel Danilo Borjal.

The consultations shall deal with the possibility of resuming the formal talks while the Arroyo regime is still in power and making more effective the work of the Joint Monitoring Committee created by the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) in the face of rampant gross human rights violations in the Philippines.

The consultations shall also deal with how to keep active and productive the NDFP Negotiating Panel and the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic groups and possibly working groups on political and constitutional reforms and on the end of hostilities and disposition forces, whether or nor the Arroyo regime agrees to resume the formal talks.

The NDFP Negotiating Panel has the concept of continuing to prepare drafts of agreements on social, economic and political reforms and testing them in working sessions and open forums with respected Filipino experts and GRP officials who belong to the regime and the opposition. Thus, a level of consensus shall be reached even before the resumption of the formal talks, thus accelerating the progress of future negotiations.

So far, the Arroyo regime has made categorical manifestations that it has shut the door to the resumption of formal talks in favor of pursuing an all-out war policy against the revolutionary movement. Arroyo's chief of staff Mike Defensor has declared that the GRP will no longer negotiate with the NDFP Negotiating Panel duly-authorized by the NDFP National Council and that it will undertake only localized peace talks arranged by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP), the military and the local peace and order council.

Secretary of Justice Raul Gonzalez has also issued an opinion that it is a criminal offense for anyone from the GRP side to consult with or negotiate peace with the NDFP Negotiating Panel on the ground that the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People's Army and the NDFP chief political consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison have been listed as "terrorists" by the US, European and other foreign governments. He has already threatened to file charges against Senator Jamby Madrigal for holding peace consultations with the NDFP Negotiating Panel in Utrecht last month.

National security adviser Norberto Gonzales has described peace consultations and peace negotiations with the NDFP Negotiating Panel as acts of sleeping with the enemies of the state and stooping so low.

It is recognized by the Norwegian government and by peace advocates the world over that there is a far greater need to work vigorously for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations amidst the escalating human rights violations under the Arroyo regime's all-out war policy.

The Norwegian government, human rights organizations and religious organizations have criticized the Arroyo regime for failing to stop the gross human rights violations and for refusing to resume the formal talks with the NDFP Negotiating Panel.###

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