Statement of Fidel V. Agcaoili,chairperson of the NDFP Negotiating Panel on February 9, 2017
There is no fair and just reason for the GRP to terminate the JASIG and in effect the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations less than two weeks after the two Negotiating Panels had successfully concluded their third round of talks in Rome, Italy.
The 25 January 2017 Rome Joint Statement clearly shows the significant advances made in the substantive agenda of the peace negotiations.
A thorough discussion of the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) was done. This was capped by the signing of the Supplemental Guidelines for the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC), the mechanism provided for in the CARHRIHL to monitor the implementation of the Agreement.
The Reciprocal Working Committees (RWCs) on Social and Economic Reforms (SER) exchanged complete drafts of their respective Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER). They had substantially agreed on the Preamble, Declaration of Principles (Part I), Bases, Scope and Applicability (Part II) and Desired Outcome (Part III). They began to discuss Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (Part IV) and had reached common understanding on the general features of the agrarian problems in the Philippines and agreed in principle to the free distribution of land to farmers and farm workers as the governing framework of CASER. They approved and signed the Ground Rules for the Conduct of the Formal Meetings between the RWCs-SER of the GRP and the NDFP that is meant to accelerate the discussions of drafts and hopefully craft a final common draft by the deadline set this year.
Beyond expectations, the Reciprocal Working Groups (RWGs) on Political and Constitutional Reforms (PCR) exchanged their respective tentative drafts of the Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms (CAPCR), as well as their respective comparative matrices of the drafts. They exchanged views on the proposal for a federal form of government and the need for certain constitutional guarantees and safeguards demanded by the people. They agreed to work on a common matrix as reference for discussions in the fourth round of formal talks.
The Negotiating Panels agreed to have their respective ceasefire committees meet in The Netherlands on 22-27 February 2017 to discuss their respective drafts of the bilateral ceasefire. They also agreed to set the next round of talks in Oslo, Norway on 2-6 April 2017.
At the same time, in his closing statement, Prof. Jose Ma. Sison projected that, at the rate the negotiations have been going, the CASER and CAPCR can be signed by the Negotiating Panels and approved by their respective Principals in 2017 in time for the founding of the Federal Republic of the Philippines in 2018.
With the above progress in the talks, it is unreasonable for any Party to unilaterally terminate effectivity of the JASIG and in effect the peace negotiations without just cause and squander the gains so far achieved. The recommendation of the GRP Negotiating Panel to proceed with the talks as scheduled should have been heeded instead of the lies and warmongering of the peace spoilers.
Moreover, we note that the letter of termination of the JASIG sent by Sec. Dureza is improperly addressed. It should have been sent to the National Executive Committee of the NDFP through its Negotiating Panel, and not jointly in one letter to Prof. Sison as Chief Political Consultant and me as Chairperson of the Negotiating Panel. The NDFP Negotiating Panel and its consultants draw their authority from the National Executive Committee of the NDFP based in the country. The original of the letter should also be sent by mail or courier to the NDFP Information Office in The Netherlands to be formally received by the NDFP Negotiating Panel.
For all of the above reasons, the NDFP cannot as yet acknowledge receipt of the 07 February 2017 email letter of Sec. Dureza. The NDFP cannot be a party to an unjust, unreasonable and improper termination of the JASIG. The GRP bears full responsibility for its unilateral decision to terminate the effectivity of the JASIG and in effect the peace negotiations.