Reaction to Galvez’s statements on peace talks

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Alluding to the statement of the Party and various other organizations welcoming the Oslo Joint Statement, Sec. Carlito Galvez, former military general and now Presidential Peace Adviser, criticized calls for the delisting of the CPP/NPA/NDFP and NDFP Negotiator Luis G Jalandoni from the “terror list” of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), as well as the release of detained NDFP peace negotiators and consultants.

Galvez seeks to dismiss these calls saying “there should be no preconditions” for peace talks to proceed. Yet Galvez and his military ilk keep on harping about a non-existent “final peace agreement” and at the same time demands that peace talks should “start anew.” Galvez will have to do a lot of explaining to the people.

For one, he should explain to the public how peace talks with the NDFP can proceed without removing the CPP/NPA/NDFP from the GRP’s “terrorist list” without the GRP violating its own oft-repeated policy of “we do not negotiate with terrorists.” Doesn’t it smack of bad faith that he will negotiate with Ka Luis across the table while calling him a “terrorist?”

Galvez should also explain to the public how peace talks with the NDFP can proceed if the NDFP’s peace consultants and personnel who face their counterpart and necessary research and paper work continue to be detained in violation of their guaranteed rights under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

The NDFP Negotiating Panel chair Julie de Lima has clarified that these are not preconditions, rather issues that need to be discussed before formal talks can proceed.

Indeed, these are practical issues, which if unresolved, makes it very difficult to even imagine how peace talks can proceed, both from the perspective of the GRP (the “we do not negotiate with terrorists” quandary), and the NDFP (“we cannot negotiate from behind bars”).

These issues also reflect more fundamental questions about peace negotiations. If Galvez does not even want to hear about the clamor to remove the “terrorist designation” of CPP/NPA/NDFP, will it even listen to the basic and urgent demands of the people for land reform and national industrialization and other key measures for social justice and national sovereignty?

Does Galvez want to reduce peace talks to mere “surrender” talks, which we are keenly aware is what the military and the US have long wanted? If capitulation is what Galvez and the AFP merely wants, then they should immediately be told: this is not negotiable!

Reaction to Galvez's statements on peace talks