MANILA, PHILIPPINES – President Benigno S. Aquino III yesterday appointed the newly reconstituted government peace negotiating panel for talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines / New Peoples Army / National Democratic Font of the Philippines (CPP/NPA/NDF). Reiterating the government’s openness to the resumption of the formal peace negotiations, he designated Atty. Alexander Padilla, a staunch peace, justice and human rights advocate to head the government panel.
Known peace advocates were also appointed to the panel, among them, Atty. Pablito Sanida of Baguio City, Ednar Dayanghirang of Davao Oriental, Lourdes Tison of Negros Occidental and Jurgette Honculada of Zamboanga.
President Aquino said that the government is committed to a comprehensive, just and peaceful solution to the armed conflict with communist insurgency groups. He instructed the panel to follow a time-bound and agenda-bound peace negotiation in crafting a political agreement that will contribute to the resolution of the root causes of the insurgency.
“As our people power is enshrined in the ways of peace, so will be my resolve to address the root causes of the armed conflict and bring about societal reforms,” Aquino said.
The President also expressed his desire to engage other sectors in the peace process by directing the panel to consult with affected communities and stakeholders. He likewise instructed them to build on the gains and the lessons from previous peace talks.
Aquino enjoined the CPP/NPA/NDF to return to the negotiating table and engage the government peace efforts.
“I trust that the CPP/NPA/NDF respond positively to the government’s peace efforts by returning to the negotiating table with commitment towards a peaceful conclusion of the armed conflict,” the President said.
Profiles of The Government Peace Negotiating Panel for Talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF
Briefer prepared by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
1. PADILLA, ALEXANDER D.
54, single, born in Manila on 9 July 1956
Born from a distinguished couple, former Senator Ambrosio Bibby Padilla and Ms. Lourdes De Las Alas Padilla, he is a strong advocate of peace, justice and human rights as manifested by his able leadership in several peace and human rights bodies such as the: Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG-Metro Manila); Institute of Political and Electoral Reforms (IPER); Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID); and the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA). As a lawyer, he is also presently involved with legal work at the Ambrosio B. Padilla Foundation; International Bar Association; Integrated Bar of the Philippines; and the Philippine Bar Association.
He currently holds an Undersecretary post for External Affairs and Regulations at the Department of Health. Effective next month, he will move to PhilHealth Office as Chief Operations Officer in cognizance of his exemplary work in pushing reforms in the heath sector. In the last 24 years, he has provided public service in government occupying various positions: Commissioner of Customs; Assistant Secretary for Local Governments (DILG); Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs (DOH); Special Prosecutor (Ombudsman); and as Senior State Prosecutor (DOJ).
He has represented the Philippines since 1982 as a Delegate in numerous international conferences where he participated in multisectoral discussions on human rights, justice peace and health: International Visitors Program of the US Information Service on Conflict Resolution and Preventive Diplomacy Program; Torture and Human Rights Violations in the Philippines; Weapons of Mass Destruction Crisis Response Management; and on Movement for Peace and Democracy.
In 1987, he graduated from the UP College of Law (rank 8th). He holds a Bachelor’s Degree on AB History-Political Science (Cum Laude) from De La Salle University and is a recipient of Jose Rizal Honors. He served in the academic field as Associate Professor of Law at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines from 2002-2004 and as a Guest Lecturer at the University of the Philippines College of Law in 2004.
2. DAYANGHIRANG, EDNAR GEMPESAW
48, married, born in Manay, Davao Oriental on 11 December 1961
An IP himself being a member of Mandayan Tribe of Davao Oriental, he is a strong advocate for the welfare and rights of the indigenous peoples. He is the Chairman and Executive Director of the Coalition of Mindanao Indigenous People for Peace Advocacy, Inc. (COMIPPA). He has likewise served as the Executive Director of the Mindanao Business Council under which he successfully implemented various programs for the enhancement of the business climate in the region, including the conduct of peace dialogues for sustainable responsible investments under the auspices of the Asia Foundation.
A Medical Technologist by profession having obtained a Bachelor of Science’s Degree in Medical Technology from Silliman University. He took a postgraduate course in Medicine (3rd year) from Davao Medical School Foundation, Inc. He is also one of the reputable business entrepreneurs in the region especially in the field of mango production.
3. HONCULADA, JURGETTE A.
63, married, born in Butuan City on 22 February 1947
She is a women and labor rights advocate. She serves as General Secretary of the National Federation of Labor (Phils), a network of local community organizations of workers excluded from collective bargaining protection. She was the former Chairperson of the Women’s Action Network for Development. At the height of the movement for gender equality in the country, she became the Vice Chairperson of PILIPINA, a national feminist organization. She was likewise a two-termer Commissioner of the National Commission on the Role of the Filipino Women (1986-1992 & 2000-2004) where she championed the active participation of Filipino women in governance. During the Ramos Administration, she represented the women sector in the National Anti-Poverty Commission.
Holds a Bachelor’s Degree on Journalism from Silliman University (Summa Cum Laude) and completed her post-graduate program for Development Managers at the Asian Institute of Management. As a writer, she has published noted books on women, such as “Gender Mainstreaming in the Philippine Bureaucracy” in 2002, under the auspices of the UN Funds for Women.
4. SANIDAD SR., PABLITO V.
66, married, born in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur on 25 April 1944
Distinguishes himself with his work at the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) which he chaired during the Martial Law period. A seasoned public servant having been elected Vice Governor of Ilocos Sur in 1972 and appointed Deputy Minister of the Department of Labor after the People Power uprising in 1986. During the period, he chaired the Philippine Government Panel in the US-GRP Joint Labor Committee on the US Bases. He also served as among the Private Prosecutors in the impeachment trial of former President Joseph Estrada.
Has a strong advocacy for justice and human rights as evidenced by his lawyering work for the marginalized sectors of society. He was a Board Member of Task Force Detainees of the Philippines and of the Center for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers of the International Commission of Jurists based in Geneva. Switzerland. He was also elected Chairman of the Singapore-based Regional Council for Human Rights in Asia in 1988.
A top bar placer (8th Placer, 1967 Bar Examinations) and a law graduate from the College of Law of the University of the Philippines (1967).
5. TISON, MARIA LOURDES M.
51, single, born in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental on 20 November 1958
She was the private sector representative to the Government Panel in 2001 that reviewed the peace agreement with the RPMP-RPA-ABB and determined the manner for its effective implementation. She is presently an active member of Paghiliusa sa Paghidaet- Negros, an aggrupation of local peace workers which was organized in 1990 as a response to the call of the CBCP for the community members to bind together for peace building in light of the unrest and killings in Negros (Oplan “Thunderbolt”). The organization is engaged in the conduct of educational and advocacy programs for territorial communities in Negros Island. Its peace research and interventions are also directed to help address poverty and grave environmental degradation in the area, including government activities perceived to be development aggression.
A dedicated peace advocate, she sits as a private sector representative to the Program Board of the UNDP’s portfolio program in Peace and Development for the country. She was likewise involved in the development of the “human security index” for the Philippines under the UNDP’s Third World Studies Center, designed to mainstream conflict prevention, peace-building and human security in the development process.
She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of the Philippines (1994). She also earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology-Anthropology in 1980 from Ateneo de Manila University.