We welcome the recent statement of the National Democratic Front (NDF) reaffirming its support to the Philippine government’s fight against Maute, Abu Sayyaf, Ansar al-Khalifah Philippines (AKP) groups and other terrorist organizations wreaking havoc in Marawi City and other parts of the country.
We also appreciate the NDF’s commitment in their declaration to refrain from undertaking offensive operations in Mindanao to enable the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to focus their attention on the war against terror groups. These voluntary gestures and expressions from the NDF in solidarity with government against acts of terrorism augur well for the desired continuation of the stalled 5th round of peace talks as they provide, if sustained, the needed enabling environment favorable to moving the peace negotiations forward.
The Philippine government hereby correspondingly reciprocates with the same declaration of not undertaking offensive operations against the New People’s Army to pave way for the eventual signing of a mutually agreed bilateral ceasefire agreement and agreements on social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and end of hostilities and disposition of forces towards a just and lasting peace.
The GRP continues to adhere to mutually acceptable principles enunciated in The Hague Joint Declaration , which was reaffirmed by both parties.
Likewise, the Philippine government hereby unequivocally recommits its adherence to all previously signed agreements, including specifically, but not limited to, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). Furthermore, the Philippine government commits to continue to maintain this needed enabling environment in step with the NDF’s own commitment to do the same.
Finally, we express our appreciation to the Royal Norwegian Government’s steadfast and indefatigable support and assistance to the entire process and for trusting that efforts are being exerted towards a final peace agreement.
SILVESTRE H. BELLO III
GRP Panel Chair