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Message of Solidarity to the National Peace Conference

By Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

September 12, 2003

First of all, I wish to congratulate the Pilgrims for Peace for completing their first year as a broad network of peace advocates promoting the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)as well as between the GRP and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front of the Philippines (MILF).

I am glad to join you in spirit in this National Peace Conference in order to celebrate your first anniversary as well as the eleventh anniversary of The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 which is the framework of peace negotiations between the GRP and NDFP. I am proud to have participated in the formulation and writing of this document.

We stand together in solidarity as we call for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration. We urge the continuation of the negotiations on social and economic reforms, the formation of the Joint Monitoring Committee in accordance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the undertaking of confidence-building measures.

The GRP should stop paralysing the peace negotiations by using certain malicious tactics. In one kind of maneuver, it is trying to intimidate the NDFP with the US "terrorist" listing of the CPP/NPA and the NDFP chief political consultant and with escalating military campaigns of suppression. In another kind of maneuver, it is trying to make people believe that it is still interested in peace negotiations. But in fact it merely wants to impose on the NDFP the so-called final peace agreement unilaterally made by the militarists headed by then Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes in the cabinet oversight committee.

By following the direction of the US and General Reyes, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has flaunted the all-out war policy and has wantonly wasted what would have been ample time for negotiating and making a comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms. If the Macapagal-Arroyo regime shows respect for The Hague Joint Declaration, there is still time to make significant progress in the peace negotiations before the middle of next year.

For the formal meetings of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations to resume, the GRP and the NDFP need to do only two simple things: First, they reaffirm The Hague Joint Declaration and reject the scheme to make the NDFP capitulate and yield to the phoney "final peace agreement" one-sidedly made by the GRP. Second, they denounce the "terrorist" listing made by the US and other foreign governments as encroaching on Philippine national sovereignty and jurisdiction and violating the Hernandez doctrine of political offense, The Hague Joint Declaration, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees and CARHRIHL.

The Macapagal-Arroyo regime must heed the demand of the people and numerous organizations, especially those of Mindanao, for the thorough investigation of former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes on the charges of having personally profited from supply contracts and having engineered terrorist bombings in Mindanao in order to sabotage peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The biggest purpose of said state terrorism is to justify US military intervention, increased military supplies and financial assistance from the US, and possibly the declaration of martial law. The officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that staged a protest action on July 27 have brought up the grave charges against General Reyes. He must be tried if sufficient evidence comes up in a fair and independent investigation.

In reaction to the attempts of her political rivals to force her to step down, Macapagal Arroyo is simultaneously using both threats or acts of repression and offers of compromise with her fellow reactionaries in the name of "national unity", "stability" "democracy" and "economic recovery". The main objective of the chief reactionary of the land is merely to keep her position of power and to engage in a deal with her political rivals in order for reactionary big shots on both sides of the fence to enjoy the fruits of corruption.

The peace advocates must not be misled by the slogans of the regime. These are all calculated to keep itself further in power at the expense of the people, to ridicule the public outrage over the wrongdoings of those in power and to disable the broad masses of the people and the broad united front now clamoring for basic reforms and fundamental change. The peace advocates must point out to the entire nation that the "unity" of the worst reactionaries is aimed at covering up their crimes and letting everyone of them enjoy their ill-gotten wealth.

Only for a short while may the rotten semi-colonial and semi-feudal system appear to be stable through a game of appearances by the reactionaries. But the fundamental rottenness of the system will surface again and again because of the insoluble and intensifying contradictions among the reactionaries and between the broad masses of the people and the worst of the reactionaries at every given time.

We must respond to the challenge of seeking a just and lasting peace through peace negotiations amidst the intensifying crisis of the world capitalist system and the domestic ruling system afflicted by foreign monopoly capitalism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. The facts, issues and possible courses of action for the benefit of the people come out more clearly in the peace negotiations between the revolutionaries and those in power than in a "summit" of thieves.

The "free market" globalization which Macapagal-Arroyo has espoused for so long has proven bankrupt and disastrous to the Philippines. She is so obviously unable to release herself from the binds of puppetry, corruption, mendacity and cruelty. She has recklessly followed the US line of stepping up state terrorism and supported the US war of aggression against Iraq and the US colonial occupation of this country. Such subservience to the US has far-reaching consequences adverse to the people.

The Macapagal-Arroyo regime is already isolated and made desperate by the crisis, by its own wrong policies and wrongdoing, and by the rising outrage of the broad masses of the people. It should heed the demands of the people for upholding national independence, realizing democracy, and attaining a just peace. It is in the interest of the people that the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations be resumed immediately.

This is a time when the GRP and the NDFP ought to discuss the grave social, economic, cultural, political, and moral problems facing the nation, offer to each other possible solutions and strive to arrive at mutually acceptable solutions that can be incorporated in a comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms and a comprehensive agreement on political and constitutional reforms.

In my position as chief political consultant of the NDFP, I am fully aware that all the people and revolutionary forces that the NDFP represents desire the resumption of the peace negotiations.

Before concluding, I take this opportunity to thank the Pilgrims for Peace, the National Council of Churches of the Philippines, the Ecumenical Bishops Forum, Vice President Teofisto Guingona, Senate Majority Floor Leader Loren Legarda and so many other leaders and members of various organizations in various fields for urging the resumption of the peace negotiations in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration, and for standing against unnecessary obstacles such as the "terrorist" listing.###

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