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Key to resumption of talks lies in compliance with Oslo Joint Statement – GPH

Manila, Feb. 17 – The Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel for talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP) asserted that “the key to the resumption of the negotiations is compliance with the terms of the Oslo Joint Statement (OJS) which the GPH and NDF Panels signed on 21 February 2011.”

This is in response to a statement released by NDFP panel chair Luis Jalandoni who maintained that adhering to the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) is the key to restart the talks that have been stalled for a year now.

Although the GPH panel agreed with Jalandoni's view that JASIG is important, it also stressed “that JASIG compliance requires verification without which the process lacks integrity.”

Invoking the OJS, the GPH panel statement goes on to say that “the GPH shall continue to work on appropriate measures to effect the expeditious release of all or most of the fourteen (14) NDFP listed JASIG consultants and personalities before the second round of formal talks, subject to verification as provided in the JASIG Supplemental Agreement dated June 26, 1996, or on the basis of humanitarian and other practical reasons. The NDFP added four (4) names (Danilo Badayos, Leopoldo Caloza, Alan Jazmines and Ramon Patriarca), whose release shall be subjected to the same process.”

Underscoring the need for proper verification procedures, the statement said the GPH “cannot blindly extend JASIG coverage to just anyone that the NDF alleges is covered, especially since the NDF has consistently claimed highly-placed captured party members to be covered by aliases in its JASIG list, without offering any proof.”

The panel said that “the NDF could not produce any of the needed photographs for the verification procedure,” consequently resulting in unverifiable aliases. Thus there could be no further releases.

“While the GPH remains faithful to its commitment to release all verifiable JASIG-covered NDF consultants, it has no choice but to extend JASIG protection only to the persons in the JASIG list using their real names and those other NDF consultants who have been duly identified,” it stated.

Last year, the government already released the following NDFP consultants: Angelina Bisuna Ipong, Jovencio Balweg, Maria Luisa Purcray, Jaime Soledad and Glicerio Pernia. These releases were undertaken through proper court proceedings and as part of the government’s confidence-building measures.

Out of the five, two were reported to have returned to underground work. On account of this, the two will no longer be covered by JASIG, which only provides security and immunity to those who are taking part in the peace process and are contributing to the negotiations. #

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