By Karlos Manlupig
Philippines – A plan for a historic meeting between President Benigno Aquino III and Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Maria Sison in Hanoi early this year eased off as both parties failed to agree in several significant issues in the negotiations.
The Hanoi meeting, which will be facilitated by the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG), is being eyed as a move to revive the talks similar to the Tokyo meeting between Aquino and Moro Islamic Liberation Front chair Murad Ebrahim.
The National Democratic Front (Philippines) (NDFP) said the meeting is being expected to “stimulate the forging of a general or common declaration for effecting truce and cooperation”.
In a report presented to its National Council, the NDFP said presidential political adviser Ronald Llamas proposed the Hanoi meeting in a special track talks with Sison in the presence of RNG Special Envoy Ture Lundh last November in Amsterdam.
“Secretary Llamas described the proposed Aquino-Sison meeting as the “first historic moment”,” the NDFP said.
However, the NDFP said the government has scuttled the meeting by failing to address several issues including the release of detained consultants and by fixing a truce within the bounds of the state’s legal system.
“It has not released the NDFP consultants and other JASIG-protected persons from prison in compliance with the JASIG and has blocked the reconstitution of the list of JASIG-protected persons, which list had been adversely affected by Dutch police raids undertaken upon the instigation of the Arroyo regime,” the NDFP said.
“While the NDFP seeks truce and alliance, the GPH wants ceasefire within GPH constitutional and legal processes,” the communists added.
The NDFP report also said the government sent representatives with a limited mandate in the preparatory meeting at the RNG embassy at The Hague on December 17 and 18 last year.
“Contrary to expectations, the GPH President did not authorize a GPH special team for the special track but sent only a delegation of special representatives with a limited mandate under vetting by the OPAPP,” the communists accused.
Despite the on and off trend of the talks, the NDFP said they have consistently proposed to the government a truce and alliance since early 2011.
“The NDFP has reiterated to the GPH the offer of truce and alliance and has proposed that this can be worked out on a special track distinct from the regular track of the already agreed substantive agenda of the GPH and NDFP Negotiating Panels, which are required to discuss the end of hostilities and redisposition of forces only after the approval of the comprehensive agreements on social and economic reforms and political and constitutional reforms,” the NDFP said.
Sison asserted that for the meeting to be successful, it is important to “craft the basic points of the general declaration for inclusion in the press communiqué to be issued in Hanoi”.
The general declaration must include:
• Common declaration of national unity and just peace
• Further upholding national independence, democracy and human rights
• Committee for National Unity, Peace and Development
• Agrarian reform, rural development and national industrialization
But with the chance of the talks to be revived presently in an incalculable situation, the NDFP said the government must prove its sincerity in pursuing peace with the communists.
“The GPH has the burden of showing that it is sincerely interested in continuing the peace negotiations in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration and subsequent agreements,” the NDFP said.