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Press Statement

NDFP Wants Resumption of Peace Negotiations but GRP Gives Military Ultimatum for NDFP to Surrender in Six Months or Else

21 February 2003

Contrary to the claims made by or ascribed to Ms. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Silvestre Afable and Silvestre Bello III on February 20 and 21, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) wants to resume the peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration and other existing GRP-NDFP agreements.

But the GRP team of the two Silvestres came to the Netherlands on February 19 only to tell NDFP negotiating panel chairman Luis Jalandoni that the NDFP must bow to the so-called final peace agreement one-sidedly prepared by the GRP and surrender to the GRP in six months’ time or else face the joint combat operations of the US and the armed forces of the GRP.

The Afable-Bello team cynically insisted that it is in accordance with Philippine "national interest" for the US to have jurisdiction over criminal actions of US troops in the Philippines as well as over the revolutionary actions of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the Philippines.

The GRP team told the NDFP that the GRP cannot comply with the national sovereignty provision of The Hague Joint Declaration, the guarantees for NDFP negotiators, consultants and other duly-authorized personnel in the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees and the Hernandez doctrine provision in the Comprehensive Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.

However, in the most roguish manner, the Afable-Bello team said that the terrorist tag on the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA) and the chief political consultant can perhaps be lifted only after the NDFP pledges in writing the surrender of the NPA and other revolutionary forces.

The NDFP team, consisting of Jalandoni and Fidel V. Agcaoili, reminded the GRP team that he Hague Joint Declaration carries a non-capitulation provision and that the peace negotiations are a two-sided process for addressing the roots of the armed conflict and not for letting the GRP dictate terms of surrender to the NDFP.

The NDFP team also told the GRP team that the NDFP cannot be intimidated. The revolutionary forces and people could fight the Marcos fascist dictatorship, despite the US military bases and large military supplies then. They can certainly fight more effectively against the US and its puppets at this time of far more severe socio-economic crisis and global disorder.

The GRP team abruptly terminated the exploratory talks on February 19 after failing to push the NDFP team to accept the conversion of the peace negotiations into surrender negotiations. It declared that the negotiations remain indefinitely recessed until it can get new marching orders from Ms Macapagal Arroyo and the military cabal around her.

In my estimate, Ms Macapagal-Arroyo and general Angelo Reyes are driven by their respective political ambitions to follow the bellicose posture of the US imperialists by escalating military campaigns against the revolutionary forces and by making occasional demands for surrender, which they pass off as demands for the resumption of the peace negotiations.

The scheme of the US and puppet regime is to insult and provoke the NDFP with the demand for surrender and misrepresent the refusal to surrender as a refusal to engage in peace negotiations in order to justify an all-out war and pave the way for the joint US-GRP military campaigns against the revolutionary forces and the people. #

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