NDFP Media Office
One-hundred and forty leaders and members of various progressive organizations nationwide gathered at the University of the Philippines yesterday for a consultation on the NDFP’s December 6 draft of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-economic Reforms (CASER).
The NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Socio-economic Reforms (RWC-SER) released the draft about two months after agreeing with the GRP last October on a common outline. The two panels will formally exchange their respective fleshed-out versions of CASER on January 11, and begin holding formal discussions to reconcile their exchanged drafts during the third round of talks from January 18 to 25.
The GRP panel had earlier announced that it would come up with its version of CASER on December 10, but has yet to present its draft.
RWC-SER officers and members led the discussion on particular topics, with former management professor Alan Jazmines giving an overview of CASER.
The NDF’s 84-page draft includes elaborated sections on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, which was discussed by peasant leader Randall Echanis. Labor leader Adelberto Silva elaborated on National Industrialization and Economic Development. These sections are subsumed under the heading of “Developing the National Economy,” reflecting the NDFP’s view that genuine land reform and national industrialization are key to resolving poverty and economic backwardness.
Discussions on the agrarian reform provision are expected to be heated in the face of reports of renewed landlord violence at Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac and Lapanday Foods Corp. in Davao del Norte against peasants and farm workers asserting their right to occupy land already awarded to them under government land reform laws.
Under the heading of “Upholding People’s Rights,” which was discussed by peasant and Lumad organizer Loida Magpatoc, separate sections were also devoted to defining the rights of national minorities, women and children. The sections were the products of NDFP consultations held with organizations of national minorities last November and written proposals from women’s groups and cultural organizations in September.
UP Prof. Edberto Villegas discussed the sections on independent foreign policy and fiscal, monetary and financial policies.
RWC-SER members also held days-long Skype sessions twice in November, enabling their chair Juliet de Lima to preside over discussions from her base in The Netherlands where she lives in exile.
Joanna Cariño of the Cordillera People’s Alliance and GABRIELA women’s group representative Sharon Cabusao-Silva lauded the revolutionary organization for including their inputs in the draft CASER. A Moro representative proposed the addition of measures to implement land reform in Moro areas, and said that the NDFP should mention that it has been implementing land reform in revolutionary territories even before the peace talks began.
On the other hand, representatives from the drivers’ group PISTON were assured that the draft CASER’s provisions on improving mass transportation would not result in an immediate jeepney phaseout.
Suggestions presented during the consultation will be incorporated by the NDFP RWC-SER in an amended draft that will be ready by the end of December.
The consultation was likewise attended by NDFP panel member Coni Ledesma, and consultants Jaime Soledad, Porferio Tuna, Pedro Codaste, Ariel Abitrario, Eduardo Genelsa, Tirso Alcantara and Reynante Gamara. NDFP Senior Adviser Luis Jalandoni gave the closing remarks.
The day-long activity was organized by Kapayapaan and Pilgrims for Peace, both broad-based coalitions of peace advocates.###
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