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Press Statement

Two major steps to accelerate the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations
By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant

4 December 2001

Two major steps have to be taken in order to accelerate the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

First is the formation and operationalization of the Joint Monitoring Committee, provided for under the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), in order to handle the complaints of either side regarding violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and to preempt any side from using such complaints to unilaterally recess, suspend or collapse the negotiations.

Second is the acceleration of the negotiations on social and economic reforms with the assistance of the subcommittees of the reciprocal working committees. After the negotiating panels initial the articles on agrarian reform and national industrialization, then they can start to harness their respective reciprocal working committees on political and constitutional reforms.

It is not advisable to jump into the fourth and final item in the substantive agenda without setting forth clearly the economic, social and political reforms to be carried out by way of addressing the roots of the armed conflict.

The GRP and the NDFP are engaged in a civil war. They have their respective main reasons for fighting while negotiating.

The GRP seeks to improve its negotiating position or even defeat the armed revolutionary movement by escalating the campaigns of military suppression. In the course of such campaigns, the military and police forces of the GRP have perpetrated atrocities against the civilian population and suspected revolutionaries.

The NDFP seeks to avoid the pitfall of pacification and capitulation from an indefinite ceasefire or truce without any prior negotiated resolution of the roots of the armed conflict. Thus, the NDF is firm on demanding social, economic and political reforms.

If the GRP truly wants to accelerate the peace negotiations, it should be willing to sign the documents intended to accelerate the negotiations and should agree to hold the second round of talks from 16 to 20 December 2001 in Oslo, Norway.

The positions of the two sides are too far apart from each other. There is therefore a lot of hard work ahead before anyone can speak of a final peace settlement.




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