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Peace group presses inking of GPH-NDFP economic reforms agreement

Posted on http://davaotoday.com/main

The Sowing the Seeds of Peace, a Mindanao peace advocacy group supporting talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), has said that more natural disasters like typhoons Sendong and Pablo loom in the immediate future unless comprehensive social and economic reforms are instituted.

Bishop Felixberto Calang, convenor of Sowing the Seeds, stressed that “the roots of our environmental crises today are linked to monopoly of land, extractive industries and land conversions, and an economy that is not pro-Filipino but caters to foreign interests.”

Calang said that genuine agrarian reform and a nationalist development program are “our only way out of these catastrophes since decades of market-oriented, consumerist, and exploitative paradigms have led us into this mess today.”

The GPH should take into utmost consideration the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Rights (CASER) with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) “because it provides concrete solutions to the root causes of environmental destruction.”

“The signing of the CASER is all the more imperative in the light of the Typhoon Pablo tragedy that severely hit the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.  Millions of poor farming folks in these affected places are now demanding rehabilitation of their lands which necessitates, among others, the implementation of genuine agrarian reform as well as the cessation of the environmentally-damaging huge extractive industries and other big business ventures in the said areas,” Calang said.

Calang added: “We have said time and again that significant reforms and genuine peace can only be attained when the root causes of the armed conflict are addressed.  It is unlikely to speak of ending the civil war through laying down of arms in as much as armed resistance persists only when injustices such as landlessness, labor exploitation, unemployment, human rights infringements, among others, abound.”

He said that many programs in the CASER “are worth looking into since it can provide us with an ecologically-sound roadmap for the future.”

Calang further said that the Typhoon Pablo disaster poses an imperative on the GPH and NDFP to resume peace negotiations to revitalize each side’s working groups and the Reciprocal Working Committees tasked to draft the components of the agreement which includes, as NDFP’s proposals, the following: economic sovereignty and national patrimony; agrarian reform and agricultural development; national industrialization and economic development; economic planning; rights of the working people, livelihood and social services; environmental protection, rehabilitation and compensation; and foreign economic and trade relations.

For reference :
BISHOP FELIXBERTO CALANG
Iglesia Filipina Independiente
Convener, Sowing the Seeds of Peace
Cel No. 0918-929-4244

BISHOP DELFIN CALLAO JR
Iglesia Filipina Independiente
Convener, Sowing the Seeds of Peace
Cel No. 0915-288-3601

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