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Philippine Peace Center
Press Statement
May 8, 2013

GPH “new approach” is a recipe for war, not peace

The Philippine Peace Center (PPC), having assisted in and closely monitored the GPH-NDFP negotiations since 1992,  decries the recent statements from various GPH officials declaring their intent to withdraw from the peace negotiations with the NDFP and  blaming the NDFP for the collapse of the talks. Their puported  “new approach” to peace is a recipe for counter-insurgency war, not a path to peace.

While they could not yet give details of this “new approach”, GPH Chief Negotiator Padilla, OPAPP Secretary Deles, Defense Secretary Gazmin and Malacanang spokesman Lacierda have described it as involving “localized talks”, “community-based”, “addressing the issues on the ground”, “multi-track” and under the framework of the NIPSP (National Internal Peace and Security Plan) and Oplan Bayanihan.   

There is really nothing new in this “new approach and framework”, which has been characterized by token and selective consultations, grants of amnesty, rehabilitation and socio-economic projects for fake surrenderees or “rebel returnees”, and intensified counter-insurgency military operations.  Since the Cory Aquino government, the GPH (then the GRP) has tried time and again to inject these into the negotiations and the peace process with various armed groups opposing the government. Those who accepted this framework fell into a negotiated capitulation to the GRP/GPH, which only led to the perpetuation, rather than the resolution, of the roots of the armed conflict.

  This so-called  “new approach” means that the Aquino government is running away from the GPH commitments and obligations not only to the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations but to the Filipino people who are hoping that the talks would lead to a just and lasting peace.

It means the Aquino government is junking the 1992 The Hague Joint Declaration, the framework agreement that has made the peace talks possible, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and other agreements to which previous GPH administrations had affixed their signatures and affirmed as binding and effective.

Since the resumption of formal talks in February 2011, the Aquino administration has continually reneged on its obligations and violated these agreements, such as refusing to convene the Joint Monitoring Committee, arresting and refusing to release detained JASIG-protected persons, refusing to reconstitute the NDFP list of JASIG-protected persons, and blatantly distorting and misrepresenting facts in order to justify its terminating the negotiations while pinning the blame on the NDFP.

 There is only one “new approach” the Aquino administration should take that would lead to wholesome and fruitful peace negotiations and redound to the benefit of our people. It should  respect all agreements the GPH has signed, comply with its obligations and commitments, and start  negotiating in good faith for a change.
Reference: Rey Claro Casambre (PPC Executive Director); 09238108428, 09217991593





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