October 21, 2010
NDFP-GRP RESUMES PEACE TALKS AFTER 24 YEARS
Los Angeles —The Alliance Philippines (AJLPP) based in the United States expressed elation over the supposed resumption of peace negotiations between the NDFP and the GRP.
The Alliance-Philippines is happy that after 24 years and four different sets of government from Aquino to Arroyo negotiating panels, the 3-month-old Aquino administration Thursday signaled its readiness to talk peace with communist rebels, hoping that a political settlement of the 41-year-old insurgency will finally be forged under its watch.
The Alliance Pointed out that more than 120,000 combatants and civilians have died in the rural-based rebellion that has afflicted nearly all of the Philippines’ 81 provinces. It is considered to be the impoverished Southeast Asian nation’s most serious security threat and a major obstacle to economic development.
President Benigno Aquino III’s adviser on the peace process, Teresita Deles, announced that the government had reconstituted its panel for the resumption of talks with the CPP-NPA and the CPP-led National Democratic Front (NDF).
The panel will be led by Health Undersecretary Alexander Padilla, a known human rights lawyer. Its members are “known peace advocates”—lawyer Pablito Sanidad of Baguio City, Ednar Dayanghirang of Davao Oriental, Lourdes Tison of Negros Occidental and Jurgette Honculada of Zamboanga.
No demand for ceasefire
The AJLPP noted that This early though, the government indicated that it would not demand a ceasefire agreement with the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) and its armed wing New People’s Army (NPA), but in the same breath said it could not do anything with the terrorist tag against the rebels by the United States and the European Union.
Both issues have, among other things, stalled peace negotiations since 2004 during the administration of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Norway as facilitator
Norway has accepted the Philippines’ request to resume its role as third-party facilitator of the peace talks. Norway as a third party have shouldered the coast of travel and other expenses during the negotiations during the last nine years.
Norway was also the site of the Palestinian-Israeli Talks and the Sri Lankan conflict that ended the Tamil rebellion with the elimination of the LLTE.
The CPP said in a July statement that it was willing to resume formal talks with the Aquino administration. Although the 5,000-strong rebel group has pressed on with attacks on military and police units.
Like its bid to restart peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the government intends to review agreements signed with the CPP-NPA-NDF and see if there has been a different understanding in some of the documents, Deles said.
Mindanao: Intensified AFP drive
Meanwhile in the island of Mindanao, Sr. Arnold Maria Noel, one of the convenors of Sulong CARHRIHL, said: “Communities continue to suffer from the series of military offensives being conducted and sometimes escalated by both the military and the NPA.”
Military officials have acknowledged an intensified campaign against the insurgents.
The NPA’s Menardo Arce Command has called the teams “smokescreens for AFP combat operations and grave rights violations.”
“In dialogues the AFP conducts in every barangay under the peace and development efforts, people are subjected to psychological warfare to force them to renounce the revolutionary movement, and organize the so-called Barangay Defense System that turn civilians into pawns and convenient AFP shields against NPA attacks,” the rebel group said in a statement