By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel warmly congratulates the NDFP-Southern Mindanao Region for successfully carrying out the safe and orderly release of Prisoner of War (POW) Jose Mervin Coquilla today to foster the immediate resumption of peace negotiations between the Aquino government and the NDFP.
In a unilateral exercise of political authority, the NDFP-SMR freed the provincial warden of Compostela Valley, and suspended its judicial proceeding against Coquilla also as a humanitarian act, in response to the pleas of his family and representatives from the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and well-meaning individuals.
The NDFP-SMR released the POW Coquilla to Third Party facilitators, peace advocates and media persons.
The NDFP Negotiating Panel welcomes this NDFP-SMR gesture of compassion and mercy, a message that has been reverberating in the country with the visit of Pope Francis. We appreciate and support the calls of people’s organizations and peace advocates to resume GPH-NDFP peace negotiations to address the root causes of the armed conflict.
We call for the release of political prisoners and NDFP Consultants in accordance with the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).
The NDFP is open to resume peace negotiations with the GPH on the basis of The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992, the JASIG (1995), the CARHRIHL (1998) and other binding peace agreements.