Volume IV, Number 11. 15 June 2022.
Clarita Carlos, the incoming National Security Adviser of the Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. government, declared last week that their government is “done with the peace talks!” This declaration totally ignores all the peace agreements already signed between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, from 1992 until the most recent in 2018.
On 1 September 1992, the two parties signed The Hague Joint Declaration, a formal agreement of non-capitulation and parity, paving the way for resolving the roots of the country’s decades-long armed conflict through negotiations. Three years later, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees provided safety and immunity to all participants in the peace talks, both from the NDFP and the GRP. In 1998, the landmark Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law was signed in The Hague. The Presidents of the Republic of the Philippines and the Chairman of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines approved all these agreements.
As late as 8 June 2018, official representatives of the NDFP and the Duterte government signed a “Stand Down Agreement”, calling for a temporary cessation of hostilities to prepare for a meeting in Norway between President Duterte and NDFP Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison. The agreement also called for the signing of an Amnesty Proclamation and the Release of Political Prisoners.
Will the incoming Marcos, Jr. government renege on the agreements signed by his predecessors? Aside from declaring an end to peace talks with the NDFP, the incoming NSA Clarita Carlos further declared her intention to retain the services of the National Task Force for the Elimination of the Communist Armed Conflict. Yes, the same anti-communist witch hunting agency widely condemned by human rights advocates in the Philippines and internationally!
“There is no choice for the New People’s Army,” said Prof. Sison. “If they don’t want peace negotiations, the NPA will continue to fight and fulfill its revolutionary duty. People will anticipate an escalation of state terrorism.”
Julieta de Lima, Interim NDFP Negotiating Panel Chairperson, declared: “Tuloy pa rin ang laban! The struggle will continue. We negotiate as we fight and we fight as we negotiate. What we want is a just and lasting peace!”