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Press Statement

February 20, 2001


By Jose Maria Sison

NDFP Chief Political Consultant


Having announced their respective negotiating panels, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) should soon be able to resume peace negotiations in a neutral venue abroad.

In the course of the peace negotiations, some of the NDFP negotiators and consultants who are based abroad may go to the Philippines from time to time for consultations. Their travel shall be covered by the documents of identification under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and not by any safe conduct pass issued by the GRP.

But the peace negotiations will have to be conducted in a neutral venue abroad because this is mutually convenient and safe, does not involve the deployment of large forces by the opposing armies for the security of the negotiating panels and is more economical in terms of time and resources.

To resume the peace negotiations is to revive all previous agreements, including the provision for the holding of the negotiations in a neutral venue abroad. The NDFP will never agree to the GRPís idea of reviewing previous agreements for the purpose of nullifying them and wasting so may years of work.

It is also necessary for the GRP to release all political prisoners as an act of good will in response to the demands of the human rights organizations, the churches, families of the political prisoners and the people. They continue to be outraged by the refusal of the Macapagal-Arroyo regime to release all political prisoners and by its tricky announcement of releasing only a few through some protracted and uncertain process.

Upon the release of all political prisoners, the NDFP shall reciprocate the release of all political prisoners with the release of the two prisoners of war in the custody of the New Peopleís Army in response to the appeal of the humanitarian and peace mission of Senator Loren Legarda, Bishop Jesus Y. Varela and Supreme Bishop Tomas A. Millamena.

After the release of all political prisoners, the GRP and NDFP exploratory teams designated by the GRP and the NDFP negotiating panels can meet in order to prepare the resumption of the peace negotiations.

In accordance with its principles and policies, the NDFP is ever ready to respond appropriately to whatever position and action the GRP takes on issues. It is prepared to frustrate every foul tactic of the militarists in the Macapagal-Arroyo regime to sabotage the resumption of the peace negotiations.

The NDFP is conscious of the fertile conditions for the revolutionary struggle due to the ever worsening economic and political crisis of the ruling system. #

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