JustPeacePh Sign-On Statement

JustPeacePH Sign-On Statement

September 26, 2016 UPDATE

We support the Filipino people in their historic struggle for just and lasting peace in the Philippines

The resumption of formal peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on August 22-26, 2016 in Oslo facilitated by the Royal Norwegian Government affirmed all previous agreements including The Hague Joint Declaration to address the roots of the armed conflict based on mutually agreed principles of national sovereignty, democracy and social justice.

The government committed to release all political prisoners and we demand for their immediate and unconditional freedom. A General Amnesty proclamation agreed by both parties would ensure their release and nullify all trumped-up charges against activists, leaders and organizers.

Both parties agreed to accelerate the process of negotiations in the remaining substantive agenda of: 1) social and economic reforms; 2) political and constitutional reforms; and 3) end of hostilities and disposition of forces.

This deserves our full support especially the social and economic reforms agenda topping the negotiations which is considered the heart of the matter in addressing the roots of the armed conflict. It asserts economic sovereignty and national patrimony of the Filipino people, agrarian reform and agricultural development, national industrialization and economic development, economic planning to break free from neocolonial bondage, rights of the working people, livelihood and social services including health and education, environmental protection and rehabilitation, monetary and fiscal polices for the egalitarian use of capital, foreign economic and trade relations favoring the people and the national economy.

We trust that these reforms are asserted in the talks and even beyond the negotiating table with the initiative of the people themselves through their conscious, organized and concerted efforts and the support of the peoples of the world.

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September 6, 2016 UPDATE

During the recent resumption of formal Peace Talks on the 22nd-26th of August in Oslo, Norway, representatives from the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) issued a Joint statement duly signed during its closing ceremonies, embodying their agreements on the following: (1) Reaffirmation of previous agreements, (2) Reconstitution of the JASIG list, (3) Acceleration of the Peace Negotiations, (4) Releases, (5) Amnesty Proclamation, and (6) Ceasefire. The Panels agreed to meet again on October 8-12, 2016 in Oslo, Norway.

This is an unprecedented opportunity that has arisen under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. The willingness expressed by the newly elected president to release all political detainees is a promising sign. Doing so would indicate a higher level of respect for commitments and for human well-being than has been exhibited by past administrations, and would serve as a crucial correction to the sour state of the peace negotiations under the terms of the recent past presidents.

The Philippines is a nation under multiple conflicts, including the now 47-year civil war between the Philippine government and the NDF, which represents the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA). The disputes that the NDF and many other groups have with the GRP, among other concerns, are matters of social justice and equity and equality of the current national development path. Some of these groups represent and consist of populations that have been denied the benefits of development. Some of them, as in the experiences of the Moro people and the indigenous Lumad, have in addition been oppressed by the GRP’s armed forces, both directly and through widely reported extra-judicial killings.

Even in its own analysis, the GRP has identified the following as the main causes of internal conflict: abject poverty, corruption, failures of the justice system, human rights, violations, disputes over land, ownership and use of natural resources, marginalization of Lumad and indigenous cultural communities, and the lack of respect and recognition of ancestral domain and indigenous people’s rights.

Though rich in terms of agricultural resources, the Philippine economy remains highly controlled by foreign interests and by local elites, whose dominance is evidenced in their near-monopolization of land and the prevalence of import-dependent and export-oriented businesses. These factors have combined to yield the starkly unequal outcomes and worsening poverty for the majority, which the NDF-CPP-NPA has identified as the grounds for its opposition to the GRP.

Yet, initiated in 1992 with the GRP and NDF signing of The Hague Joint Declaration (THJD), the peace negotiations have faced several challenges, despite the recognition by all parties of the roots of the conflict. The most recent of these challenges has been GRP non-compliance, under the Aquino administration, concerning the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) signed in 1995. Under the JASIG, consultants and other personnel are granted immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, interrogation, detention, prosecution and similar punitive actions.

Despite the GRP’s participation in this agreement, Philippine people’s rights organization KARAPATAN reports that, of the more than 500 political detainees, 19 were in fact NDF consultants. Their detention then has constituted a major obstacle to progress in the peace negotiations. This violation of the JASIG, and the outright refusal of the GRP to resume, has left the peace negotiations stalled for the last four years.

Among the detainees, moreover, are 88 suffering serious illnesses and 51 seniors. Their release would be a much-needed expression of humanitarian concern, which could set the tone and act as a foundation for a negotiated settlement.

The actual releases and participation of the NDFP consultants in the resumption of the formal talks last August in Oslo is a very welcome development in further building goodwill between the 2 parties.

The peace negotiations have far-reaching implications for Philippine democracy and for national development. Both issues relate directly to each component of the agenda for the negotiations established in THJD, signed by both the GRP and the NDF. The agenda-points are: (1) human rights and humanitarian law; (2) socio-economic reforms; (3) political and constitutional reforms; and (4) the end of hostilities and the disposition of forces. This agenda provides ample room to begin addressing the roots of the conflict in a comprehensive manner.

Efforts by past administrations to address these roots have been sorely lacking, and in some instances highly counterproductive. This is because the efforts have often been militarized and have not coincided with qualitative changes in governance. A comprehensive solution must involve reforms to governance institutions, mechanisms and processes to render government more accountable and accessible to people. The negotiations can serve as a starting point.

Now more than ever, there is a need for increased international support for the Philippine peace process. A variety of individuals, organizations, institutions and governments around the world have provided crucial support for the process in the past. Norway, for example, made a bold move in 2006 by deciding not to recognize the outdated and biased US and EU “terror list,” on which was included the name of NDF chief consultant Jose Maria Sison. Furthermore, due in part to Pres. Duterte’s commitment to being personally involved in the peace process, international attention has heightened. This heightened attention can translate into valuable support.

Support the NDF-GRP peace process!

Address the root causes of the armed conflict!

Release all political prisoners!

Struggle for a just and lasting peace!

Long live international solidarity!

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349 signatures

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Signatures
349Metro Manila Duterte MovementPhilippinesMMDM - KP
348Bea CruzPhilippines
347Jan BartlettAustralia3CR
346Jewelle Dela CruzUnited StatesBaldwin Park
345Michael AlcantaraUnited StatesAnakbayan Seattle
344Jolene CadenbachUnited StatesArcadia Congregational Church United Church of Christ
343Jane BrockAustraliaPhilippines-Australia Women's Association (PAWA)
342alexandra chuaUnited StatesOakland
341Ilian BurbanoCanada
340Kenneth CrebilloUnited StatesKapit Bisig Kabataan Network
339Elalaumate TunupopoSamoa
338Iwan Meulia PirousIndonesiaCentre of Anthropological Studies University of Indonesia
337manuel sarmientoaustriamigrante-austria
336Muhammad Hasan Harry Sandy AmeIndonesialiansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria
335Ranjan SolomonIndiaBadayl-Alternatives
334Khristina Mae PenamantePhilippines
333Janella LopezAnakbayan New York
332George BartlettCanada
331Julius Larrobis
330Noor flFatimaPakistanInternational Islamic University Islamabad
329Wilfred DcostaIndiaIndian Social Action Forum - INSAF
328Margaret Von RotzUnited StatesUCLA Samahang Pilipino
327Raven Latombo
326Tamasha EmediUnited StatesHighline public schools
325Ryan ToewsCanada
324Renae EncinasUnited StatesAnakbayan Chicago
323Sebastian CastroUnited States
322Eunice SantanaPuerto RicoInstituto Caribeño de Acción y Formación Ecumènica
321Peter Paul SengsonPhilippinesPeople's Forum on Peace for Life
320Ryth MendezUnited StatesAnakbayan San Diego
319Precious ButiuUnited StatesGABRIELA USA
318Nikole CababaGabriela Los Angeles
317Melanie DulfoUSAKinding Sindaw
316Matthew DumanigUnited StatesAnakbayan Silicon Valley
315Kapsai lomyaarpresbyterian
314Alexandra GriffinUnited States
313Bridge Dang-ayCanadaMigrante Canada
312Shanika Renee LazoAnakbayan SD
311Rick EsguerraCanadaPhilippine Solidarity Network
310Luisito QueanoCanadaMigrante Ontario
309Esther Cheung
308Jenna Edra
307Nerissa Allegretti USAFellowship for Filipino Migrants
306Maya ArcillaUnited StatesAnakbayan
305Alana AngurenUnited StatesAnakbayan Inland Empire
304Dominico VegaUnited StatesAnakbayan Los Angeles
303Samantha SusaUnited StatesPilipino American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE)
302Serafina Ha
301Dennis SmithUnited States
300Sean HawkeyUnited KingdomShoreham By Sea

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