GRP and NDFP assure each other of wanting
February 21, 2017
THE National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government
of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) assured each other today of their
mutual desire for peace in the country, even as scheduled formal
negotiations have been cancelled.
In a statement, GRP peace adviser Jesus Dureza announced that President
Rodrigo Duterte met with NDFP-nominated members of his cabinet in
Malacañan Palace last night.
“The President reiterated his desire and passion (for) bringing about
just, lasting, and inclusive peace in the land,” Dureza said.
Dureza said he met with the President, labor and employment secretary and
GRP chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III as well as agrarian reform
secretary Rafael Mariano, social work and development secretary Judy
Taguiwalo and anti-poverty commission lead convenor Liza Masa “until late
He said the meeting discussed directions and possible next steps in their
peace engagements with the Left as well as the Bangsamoro, Cordillerans
“He (Duterte) gave specific instructions on how to deal with the present
situation, including possible next steps following the cancellation of
peace talks and the unilateral ceasefire declarations,” Dureza said.
NDFP chief peace negotiator Fidel Agcaoili for his part said they are one
with Duterte in wanting to lay the foundation for a just and lasting peace
in the country.
In an interview, Agcaoili said peace can be achieved through the forging
of agreements on basic social, economic and political reforms that would
truly benefit the Filipino people.
Dureza’s statement, however, was silent about presidential spokesperson
Ernesto Abella’s remarks at a Palace briefing yesterday enumerating “four
conditions” that would convince the GRP to resume formal negotiations with
Abella said the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People’s
Army must stop collecting “revolutionary tax,” ambushing Armed Forces of
the Philippines personnel, burning of property, and provocative and
Agcaoili, for his part, dismissed Abella’s remarks, saying the secretary’s
list are not preconditions but are actually subject matters the GRP would
like to discuss in the crafting of the bilateral ceasefire agreement.
“The NDFP, of course, has its own subject matters for discussion in
crafting the bilateral ceasefire agreement,” Agcaoili said.
He mentioned the encroachment of the military and the police on
communities, the illegal arrest and detention of legal activists and
development workers, the extrajudicial killings of Lumad and peasant
leaders, the continuing arrest and detention of Joint Agreement on Safety
and Immunity Guarantees- protected persons, the release and amnesty of all
political prisoners in accordance with the Comprehensive Agreement on
Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, among others.
“Sec. Abella is (also) uninformed or misinformed on the status of the
negotiations on the draft agreement on social and economic reforms and the
tentative draft agreement on political and constitutional reforms,”
“Otherwise he would not say what he stated,” he added.
The GRP and the NDFP are supposed to meet in The Netherlands starting
tomorrow to discuss the government’s proposal for a bilateral ceasefire
agreement as well as hold the fourth round of formal talks in Oslo, Norway
in April. (Raymund B. Villanueva/Featured photo by OPAPP)