JMC okays joint activities to promote CARHRIHL

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/10 October) — The Joint Monitoring Committee of the peace panels of the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines has agreed to undertake together activities that will promote the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

In a joint statement Sunday at the closing of the second round of talks in Oslo, Norway, the government (GRP) and NDFP peace panels said the activities will include the distribution of CARHRIHL in several local languages, brochures, poster-making contest and calendar.

It said the JMC will devise a monitoring system and promote human rights by conducting fora and trainings and recommend the inclusion of the study of human rights and international humanitarian law in the curriculum of schools.

“The JMC discussed its budget and agreed that the coverage if for fifteen months, beginning October 2016 to December 2017,” it added.

In his closing message, Labor Secretary and concurrent GRP peace panel chair Silvestre Bello III said that the JMC started the discussion of the “supplemental guidelines to allow the full operation of the committee.”

According to, the official website of the NDFP, the CARHRIHL is meant “to meet the needs arising from the concrete conditions of the Filipino people concerning violations of human rights and the principles of international humanitarian law, and to find principled ways and means of rendering justice to all the victims of such violations.”

It added that both parties are bound to uphold, protect, and promote the full scope of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.

Also during the second round of talks, the parties agreed that presidential clemency be given to convicted NDFP consultants Eduardo Sarmiento, Leopoldo Caloza, and Emeterio Antalan.

Sarmiento was sentenced on December 11, 2013 to 40 years of imprisonment by Judge Myra Bayot Quiambao of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 203, for alleged illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Caloza and Antalan were convicted of murder on September 17, 2015 by the Pasig Regional Trial Court Branch 266 after six years of trial, for the death of one Kathlyn Ramos, allegedly a military “deep penetration agent”.

The panels reviewed the circumstances and status of the proposed amnesty proclamation.

A draft amnesty proclamation has been submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte for review. It covers 434 detained members of the NDFP.

GRP panel member Angela Librado-Trinidad said the amnesty covers NDFP consultants who were freed on bail to participate in the peace negotiations and other members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.

“We have in our possession a stamped receipt of our endorsement letter together with the draft proclamation. It was received by the Office of the Executive Secretary,” a GRP press release quoted Librado as saying during Thursday’s opening session.

Lawyer Efren C. Moncupa will serve as chair for the GRP in the JMC. His members are Prosecutor General Claro A. Arellano and Col. Facundo O. Palafox IV.

For the NDFP, Fidel Agcaoili will be chair, and his members are Connie Ledesma and Concha Araneta.

The GRP panel has chosen Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan of Angeles City as its independent observer.

For the NDFP, their independent observers are Fr. Rex Reyes and Christina Palabay. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)