Highlights of the GPH-NDF Peace Negotiations
- On 20 April 1986, President Corazon C. Aquino formally called for a ceasefire for an indefinite period to pave the way for the peace talks. The following month, preliminary talks between the GPH and the NDF began.
- The first formal talks dealing with the substantive issues took place in 1987. However, it was short-lived because of differences between the frameworks presented by both sides to address socio-economic and political issues.
- On 22 January 1987, the NDF walked out of the negotiations after stone-throwing farmer-demonstrators attempting to enter the vicinity of Malacañang were repelled by riot police in a bloody clash. The NDF and the GRP decided to suspend the talks while ceasefire is in effect.
- Shortly after President Fidel V. Ramos assumed leadership, exploratory talks began with both parties agreeing to adopt four substantive agenda items embodied in The Hague Joint Declaration that was forged on 1 September 1992, namely: (1) Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (HR/IHL); (2) Social and Economic Reforms (SER); (3) Political and Constitutional Reforms (PCR); and (4) End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces (EOH/DOF).
- The Hague meeting was followed by three more exploratory talks in the next two and a half years and resulted in the attainment of four other procedural agreements, which laid the foundation for the conduct of the first round of formal peace talks on 25 June 1995 in Brussels, Belgium.
- The Brussels talks was suspended the next morning by the government when the NDF failed to appear in the first substantive session of the two panels and imposed as a precondition, the physical presence of captured NPA leader Sotero Llamas in Brussels before any substantive discussions could proceed.
- After almost a year of being stalled, the negotiation was followed by 15 rounds of both formal and informal meetings which resulted in the completion of five more agreements from June 1996 to March 1998. One of these included the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
- In February and March 1999, officials from the AFP and PNP were abducted by the NPA. This compelled President Joseph Estrada to announce indefinite suspension of the talks and of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).
- The NPA released the hostages in April 1999. This was followed by the government’s lifting of the suspension of the talks and of the JASIG.
- On 30 May 1999, the NDF terminated the talks, accusing the government of violating the principle of national sovereignty cited in The Hague Joint Declaration in view of the government’s ratification of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Again, the JASIG was terminated by the government.
- During the start of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration, the GRP panel conducted goodwill talks with the NDF on 6-9 March 2001 in The Netherlands to pave the way for the revival of peace talks.
- On 27-30 April 2001, both parties resumed formal negotiations in Oslo, Norway hosted by the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG). The second round of informal talks followed shortly on 10-13 June 2001 where the two panels continued their discussions.
- Talks were progressing until the government panel declared a recess in view of the congratulatory statement of the NDF panel chair to the Fortunato Camus Command of the NPA after the assassination of Congressman Rodolfo Aguinaldo. The government panel considered such act as a violation of the commitment of both sides to undertake confidence building measures to improve the climate of the talks.
- After three and a half years of recess, both parties resumed formal negotiations in February, April and June 2004 in Oslo, Norway where they renewed their commitment to the peace talks.
- On 11 August 2004, the NDF unilaterally postponed the talks due to the renewed terrorist listing by the US of the CPP, NPA and Mr. Joma Sison. To address the impasse in the talks, the panels conducted informal meetings with the NDF in December 2004 on The Netherlands. The RNG provided the opportunity for both sides to discuss their respective positions on various concerns relative to the talks.
- In the onset of President Benigno III’s leadership, efforts to revive the peace talks finally led to informal chair to chair meetings on 1 and 2 December 2010 in Hong Kong. Both chairs agreed to the following: (1) unilateral Christmas suspension of offensive military operations will be observed by both sides from December 16, 2010 to January 3, 2011; (2) conduct of preliminary talks in 14-18 January 2011 to pave the way for; (3) the resumption of formal talks in 15-21 February 2011 in Oslo.
- After an impasse of six years, the GPH-NDF formal peace talks resumed in Oslo, Norway on Feb. 15-21. Both parties agreed to issue an 18-month timeframe to complete the negotiations. The GPH and NDF panels reconvened the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). Both panels further agreed to complete the draft comprehensive agreements on the remaining items of the agenda, such as the socio-economic reforms, political-constitutional reforms, and end of hostilities and disposition of forces.