NDFP peace consultants, political prisoners support peace talks

NDFP peace consultants, political prisoners support peace talks

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 06:46 AM December 06, 2023

NDFP peace consultants, political prisoners support peace talks


MANILA, Philippines — More than a dozen detained peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and political prisoners have expressed support for the return to peace negotiations with the government that could finally end the decades-long communist insurgency in the country.

The political prisoners, however, wanted the government to retune the current amnesty program, as declared under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s Proclamation No. 404, to set the peace talks in motion.


The statement dated Dec. 3 — which is also the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners — was signed by detained NDFP peace consultants Rey Claro Casambre, Reynante Gamara, Vicente Ladlad, Adelberto Silva, as well as 20 other political prisoners detained at the Metro Manila District Jail 4 in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.


“We join all our fellow political prisoners, peace consultants, and all peace-loving Filipinos in welcoming the return of the GRP [Government of the Republic of the Philippines] and the NDFP to the peace negotiating table,” it said.

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“The joint statement issued 23 November 2023 by their representatives reaffirms the imperative to address the social, economic and political roots of the armed conflict on the national level in order to attain a just and lasting peace for our people,” the statement added.

Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., however, was quick to clarify that the latest peace engagement with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and its political and armed wings, the NDFP and the New People’s Army (NPA), was not a not a resumption or a restart of the previous talks but instead was “a new beginning, a new chapter” in the peace process.

READ: POLPhil wants broad population involved in peace talks with NDFP

But according to the detained peace consultants, “It is reasonable to expect that past bilateral agreements cannot and shall not be ignored and cast aside entirely.”

Among these was the 1995 Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig), which was unilaterally terminated in February 2017 by the previous Duterte administration. Jasig essentially guarantees the immunity and safety of individuals involved in the peace talks.

It was after Jasig’s annulment that caused the detention and rearrest of NDFP peace consultants.


They also echoed the demand of the CPP to immediately release all 17 detained NDFP peace consultants, and the general, unconditional, and omnibus release of all 800 political prisoners.

“In its current form and content, Proclamation 404 is grossly disadvantageous to its targeted applicants or declared beneficiaries. Its onerous provisions include an overbroad range of criminalized offenses subsumed under rebellion, and a written admission of guilt but without guarantees for liberty nor immunity from arrest. Such provisions are counterproductive to and incompatible with a genuine peace process,” the political prisoners explained.

Galvez earlier called out the CPP and its supporters for making demands at the start of the plan for the peace talks.

“There should be no preconditions whatsoever, as these can derail future discussions. As we have learned from our past experiences, making such pre-conditions even before the start of the discussions puts a huge burden on both sides when there is still a need to agree on the parameters and framework of the talks,” he said.

In turn, the detained NDFP peace consultants and political prisoners called for the “people’s vigilance and broad and unstinting support” for the peace negotiations.

“We expect and understand that the peace negotiations could be a long and arduous process replete with twists and turns, obstacles and stoppages,” they said in their statement.

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“Nonetheless, we are hopeful that the two Parties shall stay the course and persevere in creatively resolving differences and crafting agreements with concrete gains and benefits for the people along the way,” they added.

TAGS: National Democratic Front of the Philippines, peace talks revival, political prisoners

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