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Richard Javad Heydarian

Richard Javad Heydarian is an assistant professor in political science at De La Salle University and a policy adviser to the Philippine House of Representatives. He has authored more than 400 articles/policy papers, contributed to leading think tanks such as the Lowy Institute for International P...
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The quest for peace: the Aquino administration’s peace negotiations with the MILF and CPP-NPA-NDF

Richard Javad Heydarian, 30 March 2015

This report examines the Aquino administration’s efforts to end hostilities and negotiate a long-term peace agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippine (GRP), on the one hand, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and CPP-NPA-NDF (CNN), on the other. The report has two central arguments. Firstly, the Aquino administration has been more invested (and successful) in pursuing peace negotiations with the MILF than the CNN. This can largely be explained by the greater compatibility of the strategic and ideological goals of the GRP and the MILF’s top leadership. Secondly, the administration has struggled to insulate the peace negotiations with the MILF from external interference/disruptions. The ongoing peace negotiations, however, have been vulnerable to sabotage by hardline elements, whether within the ranks of the negotiating parties or among other non-state actors and rebel groups opposed to peace negotiations. Meanwhile, long-running GRP-CNN negotiations have been repeatedly undermined by failed (unilateral or mutually agreed on) ceasefire agreements and the apparent disconnect between the relatively conciliatory negotiating position of the Netherlands-based José María Sison, the chief ideologue of the Communist Party of the Philippines, and the more hawkish negotiating position of the CNN leadership on the ground, long led by Benito and Wilma Tiamzon.

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