‘Basic reforms must be the cornerstone of an interim peace agreement’

Reference: J de Lima
Chairperson, NDFP RWC-SER
Press Statement | May 28, 2018

NDFP Reciprocal Committee on Socio-Economic Reforms Chair Julie de Lima

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Reciprocal Working Group on Social and Economic Reforms (NDFP RWC-SER) welcomes the reported possible signing of an interim peace agreement. This is a sign of movement in the stalled peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

“This would be a significant development in the peace process, only if the interim peace agreement includes basic social reforms. The NDFP has always been consistent that social and economic reforms must be the cornerstone of any peace agreement.” said NDFP RWC-SER chairperson Julie de Lima.

De Lima said that the inclusion of the Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ARRD) and the National Industrialization and Economic Development (NIED) in the interim peace agreement would be the most significant step in the peace negotiations. It would be the first steo towards addressing the roots of the armed conflict.”

Bilateral teams of the RWC-SER, have agreed on the common drafts of ARRD and NIED. The still unresolved contentious issues are being referred to the RWC-SERs of the two Parties for resolution before negotiations at the level of the GRP-NDFP Negotiating Panels.

ARRD and NIED are two major sections of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), the second substantive agenda in in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. Five other substantive parts of CASER still need to be discussed. These include: Environmental Protection, Rehabilitation and Compensation (EPRC), Rights of the Working People, Monetary and Fiscal Policy and Foreign Economic Trade relations.

“Genuine agrarian reform with rural industrial development and national industrial and economic development that benefits and protects the rights of the working people are among the many issues at the heart of any peace agreement. Ceasefire alone will not resolve the centuries-old problems from which the Filipino masses have struggled to break free,” NDFP RWC-SER chairperson said.

She added that apart from pushing for basic social services, previously-signed agreements, such as the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the Joint Agreement on safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), must also be complied with as a matter of justice.

Parties are expected to return to the formal negotiating table in June 2018.