Comment of Prof. Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant, on the question of preconditions:

The Hague Joint Declaration, framework agreement of the GRP-NDFP negotiations, requires that no side can impose on the other side any precondition that negates the character and purpose of peace negotiations. For instance, the GRP cannot precondition the peace negotiations with the surrender of the NDFP.

Watch: http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/04/02/18/reds-open-to-resume-peace-talks-with-govt-without-preconditions

The GRP and NDFP as negotiating parties must comply with agreements already signed and approved by them, such as The Hague Joint Declaration, JASIG, Joint Agreement on the Reciprocal Working Committees, CARHRIHL and others. In resuming the peace negotiations, these agreements must be reaffirmed and followed. Obstacles and hindrances to the peace negotiations must be done way with.

The conflicting yet negotiating parties bring different positions on issues to the table in order to thresh out the differences and arrive at agreements. Having forged CARHRIHL, their most important task is to make the comprehensive agreements on social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, the end of hostilities and disposition of forces.

Since October 4, 2017 the back channel teams of the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels have succeeded in drafting the general amnesty proclamation for the release of all political prisoners listed by the NDFP, the agreement on coordinated unilateral ceasefires with a Joint National Ceasefire Committee and the parts on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ARRD) and National Industrialization and Economic Development (NIED) of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER).

To ensure the continuity of the peace negotiations, there are mechanisms for submitting complaints about incidents or any issue deemed important by any side. The principals in the negotiations can avail of their respective panels and the Joint Monitoring Committee to present complaints of any kind and seek the appropriate response.###

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Reds open to resume peace talks with gov’t ‘without preconditions’
ABS-CBN News
http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/04/02/18/reds-open-to-resume-peace-talks-with-govt-without-preconditions

Posted at Apr 02 2018 03:43 PM

MANILA – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on Monday said it is open to the possibility of resuming peace talks with the government “without preconditions.”

Fidel Agcaoili, chief negotiator for the NDFP, said they still have the draft of documents that would have been discussed had the government not cancelled the peace talks in November 2017.

“No preconditions. We sit down and talk on basis of the 3 agreements, drafts we have prepared in October, which should have been discussed in November,” he told ANC.

“Had there been a formal meeting, all documents would have been signed. By this time, we would have what was offered or proposed by the government—a unilateral coordinated ceasefire,” he said.

Agcaoili said these 3 agreements include a coordinated ceasefire, general amnesty for political prisoners, and the signing of what was agreed upon by the reciprocal working committees.

He said the move to formally declare the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorists, is a hindrance and that has to be dealt with in the backchannel discussions.

But Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, government chief negotiator, said he would not recommend the resumption of peace talks with the communists if asked by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Bello believes the NDFP’s sincerity on going back to the negotiation table is “still lacking.”

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said there must be an “enabling environment” before the government returns to the negotiating table.

“[T]hey (communist rebels) must cease their hostilities against innocent civilians and government forces, end their extortion activities, violent streaks and wanton killings, lay down their arms and return to the fold of law and restart to live normal lives,” he added.

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