By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
26 January 2008

If it really wants to resume formal peace talks, the Arroyo regime must comply with the prior agreements between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and do away with all the impediments that violate said agreements and prevent peace talks. Informal exploratory talks in Oslo can thus lead to formal peace talks.

The NDFP has listed 12 major impediments which the Arroyo regime has previously put up. One of these is the precondition of the regime that the NDFP must cease the people’s armed revolution before there can be any formal talks and before there can be any substantive agreement on social, economic and political reforms. This precondition violates The Hague Joint Declaration which stipulates that no side in the peace negotiations shall seek to impose on the other any precondition that negates the inherent character and purpose of peace negotiations.

It is utterly wrong for the Arroyo regime to lay aside the agenda on social, economic and political reforms and convert the peace negotiations to one of surrender and pacification at the expense of the Filipino people and revolutionary forces. As a matter of revolutionary principle and compliance with prior GRP-NDFP agreements, the NDFP cannot agree to the surrender and pacification of the revolutionary forces and people under the guise of an indefinite ceasefire.

The end of hostilities and disposition of forces constitute the fourth and last item of the substantive agenda of the peace negotiations. This comes properly for negotiation only after comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms are forged and signed by the principals of the GRP and NDFP. The Arroyo regime should not use the last item in the agenda to lay aside the people’s demand for basic social, economic and political reforms. The military hawks and clerico-fascists in the regime should stop imagining that they can force or outwit the NDFP to capitulate.

It is obvious that the Arroyo regime is not at all interested in serious negotiations to address the roots of the civil war and produce agreements on social. economic and political reforms. The regime is obsessed with the so-called military solution, augmented by demands for the pacification and surrender of the revolutionary forces, by sham localized talks with ready made stooges and by pretended amnesty and rehabilitation for fake and ghost surrenderees.

However, the Arroyo regime cannot really impose its precondition on the NDFP. Oplan Bantay Laya 1 & 2 are resounding failures in sharp contrast to the growing strength and advance of the people’s armed revolutionary movement. The military and police forces of the regime have become fatigued by futile campaigns of suppression, factionalized by political and criminal rivalries and thoroughly discredited by rampant human rights violations.

The Arroyo regime’s false claims to economic growth are being exposed as big lies by the rapidly worsening living conditions of the people and by the deepening crisis of the underdeveloped Philippine economy under the weight of the rapidly worsening crisis of the US and world capitalist system. The broad masses of the people are clamoring for revolutionary change. They wish to liberate themselves from the escalation of oppression and exploitation.###