President Rodrigo Duterte’s renewed interest in resuming the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) is a welcome development in our search for just and lasting peace.
The early rounds of the peace negotiations between both parties already started forging agreements on socio-economic reforms that would have immediately benefited our basic sectors and the Filipino people. Last year’s cancellation was very unfortunate as we would have been a step closer in addressing the roots of the armed conflict.
Now that the President has ordered its revival, with at least one-fifth of the House of Representatives expressing support, it is imperative that both the government and the NDFP honor past mutual binding agreements, including the principle of free distribution of land to farmers.
We can only achieve lasting peace if we can ensure major policy shifts to fulfill the basic needs of the people and end decades of poverty and economic backwardness through the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), which is at the heart of the peace negotiations.
Let us follow the developments of the peace talks closely as we continue our call for structural reforms in addressing poverty and inequality in the country. I am one with the Filipino people in hoping that this step towards achieving a just and lasting peace, would help break millions of Filipinos free from the bondage of poverty.