group says arrest of NDF consultant Rey Casambre another blow to the
Philippines national peace process
December 12, 2018
MANILA – The Global
Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict - Southeast Asia
calls for a resumption of the national peace process between the
Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of
the Philippines (NDFP).
To achieve this,
de-escalation measures must be taken, this includes ensuring NDFP
consultants are given the protection previously agreed upon by the
government such as the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity
Guarantees (JASIG) signed by the government and NDFP in 1995, which
essentially guarantees ‘safety and immunity’ of individuals involved
in the peace talks, including their ‘free and unhindered passage’
across the Philippines and also outside the country.
An international learning
and solidarity mission led by GPPAC recently engaged with parties to
the conflict as well as community representatives, civil society and
some key international players accompanying the peace talks. Those
engagements confirmed that the 50-year-old conflict could only be
resolved through a negotiated settlement.
The arrest of NDFP
consultant and Philippine Peace Center Executive Director Rey Claro
Casambre, who has played a central role in keeping lines of
communications open between all parties, and his wife Corazon
Mercado Casambre on Thursday 6th of December, harms this peace
While underscoring the
need for an independent judiciary, GPPAC - Southeast Asia sees the
timing and sequencing in arrests of NDFP consultants on similar
charges as a worrying trend that could further set back the GRP-NDF
peace process since it was terminated by President Rodrigo Duterte
through Proclamation 360 last year.
The GPPAC-led mission met
with Casambre along with other stakeholders of the peace process, as
a result, this group of global peacebuilders commit to monitor and
accompany the progress of the peace process, and to constantly urge
both parties to continue the talks.
Casambre is the fourth
NDFP consultant arrested this year after the government earlier
arrested NDFP consultants Rafael Baylosis, Adel Silva and Vic Ladlad.
GPPAC - Southeast Asia said that the series of arrests of NDFP
consultants may further jeopardize the already fragile state of the
GPPAC - Southeast Asia
calls upon the Philippine government to uphold the ‘primacy of the
peace process’ as a vital instrument to genuinely address the
decades old armed conflict, poverty and social injustices.
Both parties have already
achieved significant gains of the talks before its cancellation last
year. They agreed on three (3) common drafts on general amnesty and
release of all political prisoners in compliance with Comprehensive
Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian
Law (CARHRIHL); coordinated unilateral ceasefires; and part I
Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ARRD) and part II National
Industrialization and Economic Development (NIED) of the
Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER).
Also, both parties have already drafted an agreement on the
coordinated ceasefires, a significant step towards the Comprehensive
Agreement on the End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces (CAEHDF).
GPPAC - Southeast Asia
maintains that engaging in constant dialogue and strengthening
confidence building measures are essential to the revival of the
GRP-NDFP peace negotiations and hopefully its eventual resolution.