GRP-NDFP Negotations on CASER Is Key to Resolving Armed Conflict

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

“The recent statement of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana referring to the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) as an example of the NPA’s insincerity show his utmost disregard for the Filipino people’s aspirations for economic development through national industrialization and land reform.”

This was the statement of NDFP Reciprocal Committee on Socio-Economic Reforms (RWC-SER) Chairperson Julie de Lima in response to the Secretary’s explanation of his hardline position against the resumption of the peace talks with the National Democratic front of the Philippines.

In a recent interview, Secretary Lorenzana mentioned that “nothing good will come out of it (peace talks) unless the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) agrees to their (the NDFP) unreasonable demands. He went on to cite the CASER as an example of the unreasonable demands.

The NDFP RWC-SER chairperson added Secretary Lorenzana is incapable of grasping the significance of negotiating the CASER. This simply demonstrates how far removed he is from understanding the people’s aspirations in liberating themselves from their continuing exploitation and oppression by the US and local exploiting classes.

The NDFP RWC-SER Chairperson stated that once negotiated, agreed upon and implemented the CASER would lead t o a cessation of hostilities and basically resolve the armed conflict in the Philippines. Both the AFP and NPA troops and their families would benefit from land reform and industrial employment.

The NDFP’s draft proposal for a CASER is an immediate program for genuine social and economic progress that is achievable within current political and legal processes and can be implemented if the the current administration were interested in upholding the interests of the people against the social and economic forces that have kept our country economically backward, she added.

“We strongly urge Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to read the NDFP’s draft proposal for a Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) and the common drafts on ARRD and NIED that have been arrived at by the bilateral teams under the RWCs-SER of both parties before shooting his mouth off about unreasonable demands.”