By Delfin T. Mallari Jr.
Inquirer Southern Luzon
2 May 2013
LUCENA CITY, Philippines–Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison on Thursday accused President Benigno Aquino III of being responsible for the “death” of the peace talks.
“He allowed OPAPP (Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process) and Secretary Teresita Deles to obstruct and practically kill the peace negotiations, whether it is the special track or the regular track,” Sison said Thursday in an e-mail interview.
Sison claimed the Philippine Government wanted “nothing but the pacification and capitulation of the revolutionary forces of the Filipino people through indefinite unilateral ceasefires without the basic reforms required by The Hague Joint Declaration and subsequent agreements.”
Despite the unilateral government decision to terminate the peace talks, Luis Jalandoni, head of the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace panel, reiterated they were still open to continuing peace talks with the government on the basis of signed bilateral agreements.
“The peace negotiations should address the roots of the armed conflict through fundamental economic, social and political reforms which will pave the way to a just and lasting peace,” Jalandoni stressed in a separate e-mail to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The NDFP, is the political arm of the CPP. Its armed wing, the New People’s Army, has been waging Maoist-inspired revolution for more than 40 years, considered as the longest communist rebellion in the world.
Sison branded the Aquino administration as “dishonest” for insisting that the peace talks NDFP and the government had already been terminated.
He maintained that the peace talks was not yet officially dead and insisted that for the termination of the peace talks to be effective, it should follow the process as agreed upon by both parties.
“It (Aquino administration) claims to have already terminated the peace negotiations. But it has not sent to the NDFP any written notice of termination, which takes effect 30 days after receipt by the NDFP,” Sison said.
Jalandoni also rebutted the government’s position that the peace negotiation has reached a dead end.
“I reiterate the NDFP position that the GPH (Government of the Philippines) has not given any written notice of termination of the peace talks to the NDFP, which is the proper addressee of such notice,” Jalandoni said.
Jalandoni noted that the termination process is stipulated in the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) signed by both parties in 1995.
He refuted the government assertion that Norwegian special envoy Ture Lundh, the official Third Party Facilitator, had been informed of the government decision to stop the peace talks.
“In an e-mail … to me in the afternoon of April 30, 2013, Ambassador Ture Lundh of the Royal Norwegian Foreign Ministry stated: ”Let me be absolutely clear in stating that the GPH has neither officially nor unofficially informed me of any termination of peace negotiations with the NDFP”,” said Jalandoni, quoting Lundh.
In a phone-patch interview with reporters on Wednesday, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda quoted a statement from peace process adviser Teresita Deles on the lack of progress in the talks following consultations in Manila with Lundh last month.
In a statement, Deles claimed that in their discussion with Lundh, “we mutually established that the NDF killed the special track that they had themselves proposed.”
Jalandoni asserted that the Lacierda and Deles statements “should be seen in the light of Ambassador Ture Lundh”s assertion that he was not officially nor unofficially informed about GPH termination of peace talks with the NDFP.”
He added: “Lacierda either does not know or just ignores the JASIG provision that written notice of termination must be given by one party to the other, in this case, the GPH would have to give written notice to the NDFP the proper addressee of such termination.”
No such written notice of termination of the JASIG and the peace negotiations has been given by the government to the NDFP, said Jalandoni.
According to Sison, the government has long paralyzed the regular track in the peace negotiations by declaring The Hague Joint Declaration as a document of perpetual division and the JASIG as “inoperative and useless in protecting NDFP consultants, staff, security officers and others.”
“The GPH has deliberately refused to comply with its commitments in agreements forged with the NDFP, despite the full knowledge that compliance would immediately break the impasse and cause the resumption of the formal talks of the GPH and NDFP Negotiating Panels,” he said.
Sison and Jalandoni both assailed the government resurrection of the so-called “localized peace talk” as the government’s “new approach” to the more than four decades of communist insurgency.
Sison said the central organs of the CPP-NPA-NDFP do not allow any localized peace talks “because such would fragment the highly unified revolutionary movement.”
“But what the Aquino regime, the OPAPP and the military can do is to fake localized peace talks with the use of military assets,” the CPP founder said.
He added: “No organs of the CPP, NPA and NDFP would negotiate with a regime that does not know how to respect solemn agreements.”
Jalandoni also scoffed at the so-called “new approach” of the Aquino administration, saying “the localized peace talks is actually an old, worn-out one that is totally useless.”
“It is the strict policy of the revolutionary movement, reiterated a few days ago by the CPP, that only the NDFP Negotiating Panel is authorized to hold peace talks with the GPH,” he said.
Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) on Thursday said the military will aggressively pursue localized peace negotiation with NPA rebels and other stakeholders in Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions.
Lt. Colonel Neil Anthony Estrella appealed to NPA rebels, local officials and other stakeholders to “give peace a chance.”
Estrella said the military had long been successful in its adoption of the local peace talks strategy in areas which were formerly rebel infested.
“The rebel returnees continue to come in because of our efforts to reach them out, talk to them and convince them to go home and live with their families in peace,” he said.
He said the negotiation for surrender was often conducted through trusted emissaries.
Quezon Gov. David Suarez also declared his full support to localized peace negotiation with NPA rebels.
Suarez asked all local chief executives who will win in the coming election to make localized peace talks as one of their priorities.
The key to end the communist insurgency, according to Suarez, is “not by engaging in a bloody and senseless war but through sincere efforts of the government to uplift the lives of the people.”