Members of the New People's Army sing the Internationale before the release of the "prisoners-of-war" Cpl. Benjamin Samano and Pfc. Alvin Ricarte. (Johannes Realista Garado/

New People’s Army. ( file photo)

DAVAO CITY— The government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines will be discussing about the mode of ceasefire when it resumes the formal talks in Oslo on August 22.

In a press conference on Wednesday, August 17, Atty. Angela Librado, member of the government panel said that one of the important things to be discussed in the peace talks is the mode of ceasefire of both parties.

“They have been sending intentions to either declare a unilateral ceasefire or come up with another mode like bilateral ceasefire which could also be welcome,” she said.

Librado said that the soonest time the peace talks resume, the better for it for the the country.

“Most probably the incidents which happened in the past few weeks will be address and will be prevented from happening,” Librado said, pertaining to the recent exchanges of diatribes between President Rodrigo Duterte and the Communist Party of the Philippines over the issues on the use of landmines and continuing offensives of government troops and the New People’s Army

Atty. Antonio Arellano, also a government panel member added that if the peace talks resume immediately, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law or CARHRIHL will operate during the negotiation process. He said the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) will be effective as well.

“This is the mechanism which CARHRIHL will be operational, without this it will still exist but it cannot be operational, because the members of the two panels that constitute the monitoring committee are not meeting so the mechanism of its operation is also suspended,” he said.

Arellano said that the JASIG created the monitoring committee which composed of members from both panel of GRP and the NDFP “but if the negotiations is suspended then the two cannot meet.”

“Therefore the committee cannot do the monitoring function because if the negotiation is ongoing the JASIG can be put into effect and the mechanism will be working, so if there are violations reported in accordance to the agreed procedure. But if the negotiation are off then the mechanism is off,” he said.

He also added that the GRP and NDFP have already agreed that unlike before, where the discussion and negotiation were sequential,  “now it can be done simultaneously and separately.”

He said this will help in accelerating the peace process.

“Now it was agreed that if ever there are disagreement at certain points it doesn’t mean that the entire process will have to be suspended, the issues which are contentious will be left behind for the moment and the panel can proceed to other issues that could be resolved,” Arellano said.

He said that the issue on the use of landmine is not specified on the upcoming agenda of the resumption of the formal talks.

“But this can be discussed when there will be agreements on JASIG, or there will be agreements on how to resolve violations of CARHRIHL,” Arellano said.

The government and the NDF will discuss the following agenda items during the resumption of the formal talks:
1. Affirmation of previously signed agreements;
2. Accelerated process for negotiations, including the timeline for the completion of the remaining substantive agenda for the talks: socio-economic reforms; political and constitutional reforms; and end of hostilities and disposition of forces;
3. Reconstitution of the JASIG list.
4. Amnesty Proclamation for the release of all detained political prisoners, subject to concurrence by Congress.
5. Mode of interim ceasefire.

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