Peace spoilers won the day – Agcaoili
February 7, 2017
PEACE spoilers won the day, the National Democratic Front of the
Philippines (NDFP) chief peace negotiator said of the Government of the
Republic of the Philippines’ (GRP) “cancellation” of the formal peace
talks and termination of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity
Guarantees (JASIG) today.
Fidel Agcaoili blamed “spoilers in the Office of the Presidential Adviser
on the Peace Process, Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) and the neoliberal globalization members in the cabinet”
for the collapse of their once promising peace talks with the Duterte
“They have managed to persuade the President (Rodrigo Duterte) to tow the
line of the United States (US) or be dealt with,” Agcaoili said.
Agcaoli said the NDFP has received by electronic mail the written notice
of termination of the JASIG by the GRP through Presidential Adviser on the
Peace Process Jesus Dureza.
“We intend to acknowledge it soon to enable the 30-day grace period to run
before it becomes effective,” Agcaoili said.
The JASIG requires 30 days before its termination is deemed in effect.
Not the first time
Agcaoili also said it is not the first time that the NDFP, the Communist
Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (NPA) has been
threatened with an all-out war.
Department of National Defense (DND) secretary Delfin Lorenzana also
announced earlier today GRP’s all-out war against the NPA.
“This is not the first time that such a declaration has been made against
the revolutionary movement. First was by (Ferdinand) Marcos, then Cory
Aquino, Joseph Estrada, and many DND/Ministry of National Defense
secretaries-ministers and AFP chiefs of staff since,” Agcaoili said.
“As before, we shall weather Lorenza’s declaration and gain strength. The
revolutionary will persist and continue the struggle for the national and
social liberation of the Filipino people until a just and lasting peace is
achieved in the country,” he added.
Talks resumption possible
Agcaoili however did not dismiss the possibility of resumption of formal
peace negotiations with the current Manila government.
“There are many ways of resuming the talks. The GRP knows these. There can
be back-channelling talks to iron things out,” Agcaoili said.
Agcaoili however cautioned the GRP that it should no longer insist on a
bilateral ceasefire declaration as a precondition to the resumption of
“It’s really up to the GRP. But they should not come demanding ceasefire
in exchange for the resumption,” Agcaoili said.
“They (GRP) should understand that we are not intimidated. They have
promises to keep and we shall not withdraw from these,” he added.
Both parties agreed to an informal talk to negotiate on a possible
bilateral ceasefire agreement in The Netherlands on February 22 and to a
fourth round of formal negotiations in Norway starting April 2.
Cabinet members for peace
Meanwhile, three Leftist cabinet secretaries urged the GRP and the NDFP to
proceed with the peace process despite the current “standstill.”
In a statement, Agrarian Reform secretary Rafael Mariano, Social Work and
Community Development secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Anti-Poverty Commission
chairperson Liza Masa said they believe the GRP should move the peace
negotiations with the NDFP forward.
“As heads of national government agencies tasked to address poverty and
improve the quality of life of the Filipino, we believe that the GRP
should move the peace negotiations with the NDFP forward,” the officials
“The current agenda on the table, the Comprehensive Agreement on Social
and Economic Reforms (CASER), is the most substantive agenda in the
negotiations and is key to lasting peace and long-term poverty
eradication,” the three explained.
The leftist secretaries said they will continue to engage within the
Duterte cabinet and the rest of the administration towards the resumption
of the talks and to strengthen the civilian voice in the peace process.
“The foremost concern of both parties in the peace negotiations is the
interest of the Filipino people to address the roots of poverty and
achieve a just and lasting peace,” they said.
“For it is the welfare of the poor Filipinos, in their millions, that is
at the core of the peace negotiations. Let us give just and lasting peace
a chance. Continue the GRP-NDF peace talks and pursue socio-economic and
political reforms for the people,” Mariano, Taguiwalo and Masa said. (Raymund