After four days of intense formal negotiations and an extra day of back-channel talks, the parties firmed up their agreement on free land distribution “as a basic principle of genuine agrarian reform.”
In a formal ceremony presided by the Royal Norwegian Government facilitator Elisabeth Slattum, the parties signed the document entitled Agreement on an Interim Joint Ceasefire they said was a product of three “very difficult” days of negotiations.
By RAYMUND VILLANUEVA Kodao Productions NOORDWIJK, The Netherlands—President Rodrigo Duterte’s “barest conditionalities” have put the limelight on the ceasefire agenda in the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines’ (NDFP) fourth round of formal talks in this seaside town. While the NDFP repeatedly tries to underscore…
Said to be the most contentious issue on the approved agenda in this fourth round of talks, the parties ceasefire committees are discussing the GRP’s bilateral ceasefire proposal it first submitted at the third round of formal talks in Rome, Italy last January and the NDFP’s joint unilateral ceasefire declarations to be bound by a memorandum of understanding.
With nearly all the negotiators, consultants, advisers and resource persons of both parties wearing traditional barong Tagalog and ternos, the ceremony regained some of the light-heartedness of the previous three rounds seemingly lost in the frantic informal discussions marking the first day of negotiations.
NDFP peace negotiator Benito Tiamzon said both panels have decided to hold the opening ceremony tomorrow at 10 o’clock in the morning (five o’clock in the afternoon, Philippine time)
The GRP and NDFP negotiating panels announced the opening ceremony of their fourth round of formal talks is postponed to “around one or two o’clock in the afternoon” (six o seven o’clock in the evening, Philippine time) to allow discussions on President Rodrigo Duterte’s new instructions to his negotiators.
By RAYMUND VILLANUEVA Kodao Productions BAI BIBYAON LIGKAYAN BIGKAY was early for the nine o’clock ceremony at the University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD) today. She sat at the front row of the hall, flanked by her two companions and interpreters, a Manobo Datu and a Catholic nun, patiently…
The parties said they achieved advances on six major issues listed on their agenda.
“The most essential success that has been achieved is the agreement on common outlines social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and the end of hostilities and disposition of forces.”
“The main purpose of the peace negotiations is to address the roots of the armed conflict which, among others, includes poverty, landlessness, joblessness, hunger, and inequality. Placing the outcome ahead in an outline of an agreement on social and economic reforms is like putting the cart before the horse.”