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30 August 2011

Duterte is new NDF resource person

By Ben O. Tesiorna, Correspondent

DAVAO CITY - Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was offered by National Democratic Front Philippines chair Luis Jalandoni to become one of their resource persons in the peace process with the Philippine Government.

In a visit to Davao City on Tuesday evening, Jalandoni made the offer after a dinner with the vice mayor who in turn graciously accepted the offer.

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Dinner clinches the deal Photo Credit Ben O. Tesiorna ? Balita Pinoy

Jalandoni said Duterte could help the NDFP panel in terms of his knowledge on the insurgency situation in the grassroots level. The NDFP panel chair said the vice mayor also has extensive knowledge on dealing with both the insurgents and the military and in getting their sentiments which could help in the peace negotiations.

Satur Ocampo of the Bayan Muna added that Duterte's role is very important considering that the Mindanaoan leader is familiar with both sides and that his political clout is a plus factor.

"Every negotiation needs someone who is politically savvy and this is where Vice Mayor Duterte would come in thus his contribution would be very valuable," Ocampo said.

For his part, Duterte said he is willing to do his best to attain peace. He said he wants the armed conflict to end in his generation so that the younger generations would already live in peace thereafter.

Jalandoni said they will be inviting Duterte soon to join them in the peace negotiation in Oslo, Norway or Utrecht, Netherlands. Duterte only has one request though, that the talks be scheduled before or after the winter season.


Jalandoni and Satur Ocampo along with other progressive leaders are in town to attend the forum of the coalition Sowing the seeds of peace in Mindanao led by Philippine Independent Church Bishop Felixberto Calang.

Bishop Calang said that their coalition is calling for the resumption of peace talks. The peace forum is held at the Grand Men Seng Hotel here in Davao City.

Jalandoni said he will be talking about the latest update on the peace process between the NDFP and the Philippine government.


It was learned that the NDFP has offered for the resumption of the peace talks in Oslo, Norway on September 12-24. He said that if it will push through, the negotiation will tackle the issues on social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms as well as the controversy surrounding the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee (Jasig).

Jalandoni said they are protesting the recent statement of government peace panel chief Alex Padilla that the Jasig is already inoperative. He said Padillas does not have the authority to declare an agreement forged by both panel's principals as inoperative.

Jalandoni said the Jasig was signed and approved by then President Fidel Ramos and then NDFP chair Mariano Orosa, as principals, back in April of 1995. He said such an agreement still holds until now and could not be declared as inoperative simply by the new peace panel chief.

Jasig ensures the protection of the rights of negotiators, consultants, staffers, security and other personnel who participate in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

Jalandoni said the government however violated the agreement when it jailed 13 NDFP consultants that are under the protection of Jasig. He said Padilla earlier promised to release the 13 before the resumption of the peace talks but until now has not made good of his promise and instead declared that Jasig is already inoperative.

"They have not complied and they are now saying that the Jasig is no longer operative. So we have to raise our strong objection that a panel chairman cannot declare an agreement that has been approved by the principals as inoperative. It is going beyond his authority therefore what he says is null and void," Jalandoni said.

He admitted that the non-release of their consultants from incarceration will be an obstacle to the holding of the peace negotiations. Jalandoni said they are however still hopeful that the government would abide by the Jasig agreement anytime soon.

He also called on President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to take a stand on the issue and ensure that the peace talks would resume soon. Jalandoni also called on the people to call for the resumption of the peace talks as soon as possible.

"We ask the peace advocates to help overcome this problem. We believe that it's the political leadership of the Philippine government that must take decisive action for the sake of the peace negotiation. The problem is for GPH to respect a solemn agreement that was signed and approved by the principals, and this must be carried out. Otherwise, peace agreements that will follow will not be respected," Jalandoni said. BOT

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