Sunday, May 29, 2016

Communist rebels' peace negotiator blames PNoy, political advisers for breakdown of talks

From InterAksyon (May 29): Communist rebels' peace negotiator blames PNoy, political advisers for breakdown of talks

The chief negotiator of communist rebels said President Benigno Aquino III “distorts the facts” by blaming the National Democratic Front of the Philippines for the breakdown of peace talks under his watch.

Luis Jalandoni, chair of the NDFP peace panel, said it was “Aquino’s delegation of special representatives,” led by his political adviser Roland Llamas, that walked out of a 25-26 February 2013 meeting in Amsterdam to discuss a “special track” proposed by Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Ma. Sison which included a truce and cooperation between the rebels and government.

Even before this, on February 15, Jalandoni said Aquino’s peace adviser, Teresita Deles, and his government counterpart, Alex Padilla, “sabotaged” the talks by declaring The Hague Joint Declaration, which lays down the framework of the negotiations, “a document of perpetual division.”

Padilla also declared the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, which protects participants in the negotiations from arrest and prosecution for the duration of the talks, “inoperative” to “justify the illegal detention of NDFP consultants” and, during the Amsterdam discussions, described land reform and national industrialization, “ideologically charged concepts.”

The government has accused the NDFP of attempting to junk the negotiations’ “regular track” with the “special track” proposed by Sison and of naming arrested rebel leaders “consultants” to spring them out of jail.

Jalandoni also disclosed that soon after the January 2015 Mamasapano incident, which almost led to the collapse of the peace agreement between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front, “the NDFP worked with a (government) delegation led by former Agrarian Reform Secretary Hernani Braganza to forge a draft peace agreement.”

However, “the group of Mr. Braganza was rebuffed by Secretary Deles and President Aquino,” he said.

Hopes for the resumption of the stalled negotiations have been revived after recent meetings between incoming President Rodrigo Duterte and NDFP representatives.

Duterte, who styles himself as a “leftist” who enjoys close relations with the communists, has invited the rebels to submit nominations to a number of Cabinet posts and also bared his intention to release more than 500 political prisoners after he assumes office.

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