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Press Statement

12 April 2001

ON THE QUESTION OF INDEFINITE NATIONWIDE MUTUAL CEASEFIRE

By Jose Maria Sison

NDFP Chief Political Consultant

 

It is of crucial importance that the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations first address the roots of the civil war before there can be an end of armed hostilities. As set forth by The Hague Joint Declaration, the sequence of headings in the substantive agenda must be followed. The end of hostilities is the last heading in the agenda.

If an indefinite nationwide mutual ceasefire comes ahead of comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms, then the GRP would have attained the objective of pacifying the revolutionary forces and the people and would have no more reason or incentive to engage in peace negotiations with the NDFP.

There is a sea of difference between pacification and the striving for a just and lasting peace by addressing the roots of the civil war through peace negotiations.

The NDFP cannot accept pacification and surrender in any manner or form. It cannot be pushed by any hype or attempt to convert the peace negotiations into a scheme of pacifying the revolutionary forces and the people and forgetting about the social, economic and political demands of the people.

The only way for the GRP to persuade the NDFP to agree to an indefinite nationwide mutual ceasefire, prior to the comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms, is for the GRP to recognize the political authority and territory of the people’s democratic government.

But I do not think the GRP would be willing to immediately recognize the political authority and territory of the people’s democratic government in exchange for an indefinite nationwide mutual ceasefire. Even if the GRP were willing to do so, the peace negotiations would become preoccupied with the joint and separate management of such ceasefire as well as with charges and countercharges of ceasefire violations.

For the time being, it is enough that mutual ceasefires of limited scope of time and place for specific purposes, like the safe and orderly release of prisoners of war, carrying casualties across battlefields, allowing health personnel of both sides to conduct health, sanitation and anti-epidemic campaigns, and celebrating Christmas and New Year.






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