‘First achievement of the 3rd round’:
Parties sign supplemental guidelines of Joint Monitoring Committee
January 21, 2017
ROME, Italy—The National Democratic Front of the
Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP)
signed the supplemental guidelines to the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC)
of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and
International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) on the third day of their third
round of talks.
Marking the first big achievement of the parties’ negotiations in this
city, the agreement pushes forward the joint nature of monitoring and
upholding human rights in the Philippines, NDFP negotiating panel
chairperson Fidel Agcaoili said.
“Finally now under President (Rodrigo) Duterte, we made the determination
to sign the supplemental guidelines that will now govern the operation of
the JMC as well as its Joint Secretariat,” Agcaoili said.
GRP negotiating panel chairperson Silvestre Bello III for his part said he
is glad that the CARHRIHL can now come into fruition, the first
substantive agreement he negotiated and signed with the NDFP in 1998.
The signing of the guidelines is “a concrete dividend of this round of
talks,” Bello said.
“The full operation of the JMC with its supplemental guidelines in place
should not be difficult under our legal regime that included new and bold
laws and statutes upholding human rights and international humanitarian
laws (IHL), such as the law against enforced disappearance, anti-torture
act, IHL ACT, human security act, Writ of Amparo and the Writ of Kalikasan,
among others,” Bello added.
“These Supplemental Guidelines shall additionally guide
the work of the JMC in its task of monitoring the implementation of, and
achieving the objectives of the CARHRIHL,” the newly-signed document said
in its purpose and coverage provisions.
“These Supplemental Guidelines shall cover complaints and information on
the Parties’ alleged violations of human rights and international
humanitarian law, in the context of the armed conflict, as enunciated
under the CARHRIHL,” the agreement said.
The JMC was formed and was made operational at the first two rounds of
formal peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
administration in Oslo, Norway on February 10-14 and March 30 to April 2,
Its formation was in accordance with the CARHRIHL which became effective
in August 7, 1998 after it has been signed by NDFP Chairperson Mariano
Orosa and GRP President Joseph Estrada.
The JMC then opened its Joint Secretariat (JS) on June 4, 2004 which has
since received more than six thousand reports of human rights violations
against both the GRP and the NDFP, with the former getting majority of the
As of May 23, 2016, the NDFP-Nominated Section of the JS received 4,471
complaints against the GRP and 1,926 against the NDFP.
The NDFP however said that 96 per cent of the complaints against them are
“nuisance complaints” filed wholesale last November 8, 2006 by the Judge
Advocate General’s Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Most complaints against the GRP and its forces on the other hand were
filed by human rights organizations or directly submitted by the victims
or their families.
The JMC has never conducted joint activities, particularly in processing
and investigating complaints of human rights violations received by both
parties, as in the murder of the late NDFP consultant Sotero Llamas.
The signing of the supplemental guidelines in the ongoing round of talks
has launched the JMC into full operation for the joint activities, the
parties said.# (Raymund B. Villanueva)