OPAPP to provide assistance to RPA-ABB members and former NPA rebels

Bacolod City, March 16, 2019 – The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) will be providing around Php 500 million worth of livelihood and social protection assistance to former members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army – Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB) and their families as part of its efforts to achieve inclusive and sustainable peace in the region.

According to Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez Jr. during his visit to Negros Occidental last March 8, the assistance package will include social protection programs, capacity development, livelihood and employment assistance, housing assistance and financial assistance to former combatants and their families.

“We are committed to help former combatants in their transformation to productive and normal civilian lives. We want them to feel the dividends of peace,” he said. (more…)

Dureza optimistic Reds will reciprocate offer of peace talks

ILOILO CITY, APRIL 5, 2018 — Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza today expressed confidence that communist rebels will agree to the resumption of peace talks after President Rodrigo Duterte offered “another last chance” to forge a peace settlement. (more…)

Statement of Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza on Peace Talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF

(22 November 2017)

We are hereby announcing today the cancellation of all planned meetings with the CPP/NPA/NDF in line with President Duterte’s directive that there will be no more peace talks with them.

Recent tragic and violent incidents all over the country committed by the communist rebels left the President with no other choice but to arrive at this decision. We take guidance from the President’s recent announcements and declarations.

This is an unfortunate development in our work for peace. Never before have we all reached this far in our negotiations with them.

President Duterte has taken unprecedented steps and has walked the so-called extra mile to bring peace. However, the Communist Party and its armed elements have not shown reciprocity.

There will be no peace negotiations anymore with the CPP/NPA/NDF until such time as the desired enabling environment conducive to a change in the government’s position becomes evident.

We will closely watch the developments.

We have expressed our deep gratitude to the Royal Norwegian Government for its strong support as we also expressed to their officials our regrets for this turn of events.

Despite this setback (hopefully only temporary), we remain steadfast and undeterred in our unrelenting journey for sustainable and just peace.

I now call on everyone: “Let’s all stay the course together.”

10 Reds pardoned

 

President Rodrigo Duterte has granted pardon to 10 communist rebels, most of whom had been imprisoned for more than 10 years, just days after the head of the government peace panel (GRP) announced peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front (NDF) will likely resume next month.

Labor Secretary and GRP panel head Silvestre Bello III said the latest batch of releases is part of the continuing commitment of the government to release detained rebels on humanitarian grounds.

“This is in accord with the process that will eventually lead to a general amnesty proclamation once we reach a final peace agreement with the communist rebels,” Bello said.

“We are continuing to work on the releases of the sick, elderly, those long detained and the women as the peace negotiations progress,” he added.

Among those ordered released through presidential pardon was NDF consultant Emeterio Antalan who is covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG).

The releases of two other JASIG-covered NDF consultants were withheld pending completion of their court documents. They are Eduardo Sarmiento and Leopoldo Caluza.

Those pardoned were convicted and serving sentence at the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa for common crimes ranging from illegal possession of firearms and explosives to homicide and murder. The NDF listed them as political offenders arrested and convicted on trumped up charges.

Lawyer Angela Librado-Trinidad, GRP supervising panel member who oversees the JASIG implementation and releases of detained rebels, said the release of the rebels is pursuant to the JASIG and PCBREP resolutions originally covering 15.

PCBREP stands for Presidential Committee on Bail, Recognizance and Parole.

She added that it was also in pursuant to joint GRP-NDF statements during 3rd and 4th round of talks held in Rome, Italy and in The Netherlands respectively.

President Duterte had also pardoned 4 convicted rebels in December. He likewise ordered the release of at 18 NDF consultants in July last year as part of confidence building measures prior to the resumption of the peace talks.

This brings the total of released NDF leaders and members to 49 since Duterte assumed the presidency.

Peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the NDF resumed in August last year in Oslo, Norway.

Aside from Antalan, who already served 9 years and six months in prison, also included in the recent batch of pardoned prisoners are Ricardo Solangon (17 yrs, 11 months), Joel Ramada (11 yrs), Apolonio Barado (15 yrs 10 mos), Generoso Rolida (13 yrs 9 mos), Manolito Matricio (18 yrs 4 mos), Josue Ungsod (18 yrs 7 mos), and Sonny Marbella (15 yrs 5mos). The period of detention of Jose Navarro and Arnulfo Boates were not available.

Three other communist rebels were listed among those for release. They are Raul Villar, Armando Vidar and Juanito Itaas.

Itaas, along with Donato Continente, was convicted for the murder of Col. James Rowe, an official of the Joint US Military Assistance Group (Jusmag) in April 1989 in Quezon City. He was allegedly a hitman of the Alex Boncayao Brigade, the erstwhile urban hit squad of the New People’s Army. ###

GRP statement

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

 

GRP panel reiterates commitment on amnesty, release of detained communist rebels

QUEZON CITY—The government (GRP) panel negotiating with the National Democratic Front (NDF) upheld its commitment in facilitating the issuance of an amnesty proclamation and the release of detained communist rebels on Wednesday, December 7, during the Congressional hearing on the proposed amnesty measure.

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