A Guarantee For Transparency, A Construction of Trust

Remarks Given During The Stakeholders’ Consultation On Political And Constitutional Reforms at the Ateneo Professional Schools Building
Rockwell Drive, Makati City
December 12, 2016


Government Panel For Talks with CPP/NPA/NDFP
1996-2006; July 2016-Present

My warmest welcome to this gathering of Filipino patriots, all wanting to see the end of the 5-decade long armed conflict between the Government and the CPP/NPA/NDF and achieve a rule-of-law inspired, a social justice-based and a politically-inclusive peace in the Philippines.

This gathering will be an avenue to receive views, insights, inputs and expertise from all of you, all drawn from years of study, service and experience, on the topics/subject-matters mentioned in the Common Outline of the GRP-NDFP on Political and Constitutional Reforms.

Let me inform you that the crafting of the Common Outline was not hotly and bitterly debated because of commonalities in the separate GRP Outline and NDFP Outline.

The GRP Peace Negotiating Panel believes that broad citizen participation in the drafting of peace agreements is a must and unless it is done, any peace settlement through negotiation is a mirage, a “phantom of the opera.”

The Introduction to the Colombia Final Peace Agreement between the Government and the FARC says it all. The seventh and eight paragraphs of the Introduction states that “Citizen participation is the foundation for all the agreements that comprise the Final Agreement. Participation of society … is … guarantee for transparency … and contribute toward the construction of trust and the promotion of a culture of tolerance, respect and coexistence in general, which is an objective of all the agreements.”

Where are we now in the Peace Talks?

After about forty rounds of talks from 1986 to 2011 and after about fifteen disruptions, the Peace Talks experienced two successive breakthroughs. A double breakthrough. One, during the first round of negotiation at Oslo, Norway on August 22-26, 2016; and two, during the second round of negotiations also at Oslo, Norway on October 5-9, 2016. On August 26, 2016 the two Panels signed a Joint Commitment To Resume and agreed, among others, the acceleration of the peace negotiations. On October 9, 2016, the two Panels agreed on Common Outlines of Agreements on Social and Economic Reforms (SER), Political and Constitutional Reforms (PCR) and End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces (EHDF) and further agreed to enflesh the common draft outlines. Before the January 2017 third round of talks, the two Panels will exchange their enfleshed common draft outlines and discuss them during the said round of talks.

Absent an earthshaking and cataclysmic event in the Philippines that can disrupt the peace talks, the two Panels will strive to finish the Agreements on CASER, PCR and EHDF before the signing of the Final Agreement in July or August 2017.

I join the hope of the NDFP Chief Political Consultant Jose Ma. Sison who, in the August 22, 2016 opening ceremony of the formal talks between the GRP and the CPP/NPA/NDF, he remarked that “I am confident that the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels will achieve and will steadily proceed to the ultimate success of the entire peace negotiations.”

Thank you.