GRP terminates JASIG
February 7, 2017
THE Government of
the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) formally served the National
Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) notice of termination of their
Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).
In a letter dated today, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus
Dureza also told NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison and NDFP
Negotiating Panel chairperson Fidel Agcaoili of the GRP’s “cancellation”
of the peace talks.
“Following the President’s (Rodrigo Duterte) announcement of the
cancellation of the peace talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF (Communist Party of
the Philippines/New People’s Army/NDFP) and per his instructions, the
Government (GRP) is hereby serving this notice of the termination of the
Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG),” the letter
In a subsequent statement issued by his office, Dureza referred to
Duterte’s earlier labelling of the Left as “terrorists.”
“The Government will continue its vigilance in the preservation of law and
order and in protecting our people against insurgent activities and
threats of terrorism,” Dureza’s statement said.
The NDFP has yet to respond to Dureza’s letter and statement.
Dureza, GRP Negotiating Panel chairperson Silvestre Bello III, Agcaoili
and Sison were co-signatories of the 1995 agreement.
Signed on February
24, 1995 in Nieuwegein, The Netherlands, the JASIG came into effect after
the respective approval by NDFP Chairperson Mariano Orosa on April 10,
1995 and GRP President Fidel Ramos on April 25, 1995.
The agreement was intended to protect negotiators, consultants, staffers,
security and other personnel who participate in the GRP-NDFP peace
JASIG was also intended “to facilitate the peace negotiations, create a
favorable atmosphere conducive to free discussion and free movement during
the negotiations, and avert any incident that may jeopardize the peace
“Without the JASIG, negotiations would not be possible. Without the JASIG,
persons involved in the negotiations would always feel or actually be
under a cloud of threat and would be unable to perform their functions
freely,” human rights group Karapatan said of the JASIG on its website.
The negotiations would always be at risk of being disrupted and totally
jeopardized without the JASIG, Karapatan said.
The JASIG allows one party to terminate the agreement through a written
notice given by one party to the other.
“In (such an) event, this Joint Agreement shall be deemed terminated 30
days after receipt of the notice of termination,” the agreement said.
According to JASIG, the termination shall take effect on March 9.
Repeatedly violated by the GRP
The NDFP has repeatedly accused the GRP of violating JASIG with the arrest
of its peace consultants and personnel.
The GRP judiciary has released 19 NDFP peace consultants last August that
enabled them to participate in the three formal rounds of talks in Norway
Duterte has verbally ordered their rearrest, however, in an outburst last
February 5 in Cagayan de Oro City.
The NDFP for its part said Duterte and the GRP executive branch has no
jurisdiction over the released consultants but the respective trial courts
where complaints are lodged against them.
Yesterday, combined GRP military and police elements arrested peace
consultant Ariel Arbitrario in Davao City, bringing to four NDFP
consultants under GRP custody even before Dureza’s notice and the JASIG’s
termination on March 9. (Raymund B. Villanueva)