September 2, 2017
Bayan joins peace advocates in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the signing of the landmark The Hague Joint Declaration between the GRP and NDFP. In a time when peace talks have been stalled or on the brink of termination, The Hague Declaration reminds us why there are peace talks in the first place. Signed in the Hague, the Netherlands on September 1, 1992, the agreement made possible the start of formal peace under the Ramos government and their continuation in the succeeding governments.
The historic Declaration signed wp former Tarlac representative Jose “Apeng” Yap and NDFP chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni, outlines the objective of the talks and the substantive agenda that need to be negotiated to achieve a just and lasting peace. The peace talks were intended to address the roots of the armed conflict wp forging agreements on human rights and international humanitarian law, socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms before the end of hostilities can take place.
The Declaration makes possible negotiations between two parties that have their own governments and legal system. Negotiations will take place without preconditions that negate the inherent character of the talks.
We note that during the last 25 years, peace talks progressed when both parties adhered to the spirit of the Declaration. Peace talks faltered or were derailed when one party would impose preconditions that are tantamount to the surrender of the other side.
The previous Arroyo regime sought the surrender of the revolutionary forces under the threat of the terrorist listing but the US and EU. The regime of Benigno Aquino III derided the Declaration as a “document of perpetual division” as it showed no interest in conducting negotiations on substantive issues.
The current Duterte regime said it would reaffirm the Declaration but has derailed negotiations on the substantive agenda because of its insistence of an indefinite ceasefire even without substantial reforms for the people. This position of the Duterte regime violates the spirit of the Declaration and betrays a lack of interest to forge agreements on socio-economic and political reforms. The regime has subsequently unleashed all-out war and Martial Law against the people.
The people demand that the regime end is fascist rampage and instead address the roots of the armed conflict. The people support the continuation of the peace talks and negotiations on substantive issues. The people demand compliance with previously signed agreements including the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law which will pave the way for the release of all political prisoners. For peace talks to resume, the Duterte regime must go back to the spirit and intent of The Hague Joint Declaration.
Whether or not Duterte returns to the negotiating table, the people will have to continue the struggle for a just peace in the face of fascist attacks from the regime and the worsening crisis of the ruling system. ###
Various groups will be gathering today at 2pm at the UP Asian Centre to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration and to press the resumption of the talks. The groups will also pay tribute to deceased key figures in the peace talks including NDFP chair Antonio Zumel, NDFP legal counsel Romeo Capulong and the GRP’s Jose “Apeng” Yap. Senator Loren Legarda will also attend the event along with members of the diplomatic community.