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NDF nixes govt truce offer; talks still stalled

December 2, 2008 10:02am
MANILA, Philippines – The National Democratic Front (NDF) on Tuesday rejected the government's proposal to declare a prolonged ceasefire as a precondition for the resumption of the peace negotiations.

NDF negotiating panel spokesperson Fidel Agcaoili suspected that an extended ceasefire will be used by the government to “convert peace negotiations into those of surrender and pacification."

“The stratagem of prolonged ceasefire has been cooked up by the Cabinet cluster on National Security, the National Security Adviser and the Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process to prevent the discussion of social, economic, political and constitutional problems and solutions," Agcaoili said.

Agcaoili, concurrent chair of NDFP’s Human Rights Committee, added that the GRP’s prolonged ceasefire proposal was to complement the “brutal military campaign of human rights violations" under Oplan Bantay Laya, which was revived under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s counter-insurgency program.

Agcaoili added that on the pretext of a prolonged ceasefire, the government “merely" wants to pacify people’s resistance, thus “blocking substantive peace negotiations."

“The GRP seeks to prevent the serious and sustained negotiations on social, economic, political and constitutional reforms as the basis of a just and lasting peace," Agcaoili said.

Agcaoili said the NDFP offered a ceasefire with the Armed Forces from December 23, 2008 to January 3, 2009 as it proposed the resumption of formal peace talks with the GRP on January 15, 2009 in Oslo, Norway.

But the government negotiating panel effectively blocked the resumption of formal meetings by imposing the precondition of a prolonged truce, Agcaoili said.

Agcaoili said the government’s “preconditioning" is a violation of the Hague Joint Declaration that stipulates that no side shall seek to impose on the other any precondition which negates the character and purpose of peace negotiations.

The NDFP negotiating panel spokesperson lamented that the present administration continues to have no interest in peace negotiations, adding that the resumption of formal talks remains unlikely under the Arroyo administration.

“The regime is solely interested in destroying or debilitating the revolutionary movement so that the regime’s puppetry, corruption, mendacity and brutality can run rampant unopposed by any effective force of the oppressed and exploited people," he said.

“It is most likely that the Arroyo regime will continue to escalate its brutal campaigns of suppression against the people and the revolutionary forces," he added.

Agcaoili then called on the people and revolutionary forces “to defend themselves and intensify their resistance."

“They must take advantage of the worsening crisis conditions to further isolate and destroy the power of the counter-revolutionary forces and fight for national liberation and democracy," Agcaoili said. - Sophia Dedace and D'Jay Lazaro, GMANews.TV