ILIGAN CITY, Philippines—Can the tack government adopted with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front be replicated in its peacemaking effort with communist rebels?
It appears not as plans for a Hanoi meeting between President Aquino and Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Maria Sison have fizzled out, according to the National Democratic Front.
The NDF explained that the scuttling of the plan was the result of a failure of the two sides to come up with a mutually agreed general declaration, which in turn, was caused by the government’s sending of “a delegation of special representatives with a limited mandate” to negotiate with NDF representatives last Feb. 25-26.
The NDF peace shared with journalists its internal notes on the February 25-26 meeting between its negotiators and their government counterparts in Amsterdam. The notes were e-mailed to the Inquirer by Marco Valbuena, media relations officer of the Communist Party of the Philippines media bureau.
The meeting between the two panels was undertaken through the “special track,” that is, outside of the regular negotiating mechanism they had agreed on, the NDF notes said.
The NDF revealed that presidential adviser on political affairs Ronald Llamas met with Sison using the special track intermittently during the past two years.
According to the NDF, the Aquino-Sison meeting in Hanoi was proposed by Llamas when they met in Amsterdam in November 2012 in the presence of Ambassador Ture Lunch, special envoy of the Norwegian government, which has been facilitating the stalled peace talks.
Llamas described such a meeting in Hanoi as a “first historic moment,” the NDF added. It was planned to be hosted by the Norwegian government.
The meeting was targeted to happen “early 2013” and would have like the one Aquino had MILF chair Murad Ebrahim in Tokyo in August 2011.
The NDF said that the Hanoi meeting was meant to “stimulate the forging of a general or common declaration for effecting truce and cooperation.”
The NDF said the parties had “diametrically opposite positions” on the matter. “While the NDFP seeks truce and alliance, the GPH wants ceasefire within GPH constitutional and legal processes,” the NDF said.
The Aquino-Murad meeting in Tokyo is credited with building a high level of confidence between the parties that fuelled the hastening of the peace negotiations, which is about to wrap up.
In contrast, the peace talks between the government and the NDF grinds in an on-and-off fashion.
During their November 2012 meeting, the NDF said Llamas “also promised that NDF consultant Alan Jazmines” and other prisoners protected by the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG) would be released from prison before the Hanoi meeting.
The NDF related that Sison agreed to the meeting but wanted that the parties firm up a “general declaration for inclusion in the press communiqué to be issued in Hanoi.”
The crafting of the basic points started last December and should have been thoroughly discussed during the February meeting.
As a product of the December meeting, the parties agreed that the commonly agreed general declaration must contain the following: Common declaration of national unity and just peace; further upholding national independence, democracy and human rights; creation of a Committee for National Unity, Peace and Development; agrarian reform, rural development and national industrialization; and truce.