By CONI K. LEDESMA
Member, NDFP Negotiating Panel
International Spokesperson, MAKIBAKA
Today, as we celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, our thoughts turn to the on again-off again peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (or GPH), and the NDFP.
With the current state of the talks, we are often asked: What is the objective of the NDFP in going into the talks? Is the NDF really sincere?
To answer these questions: Our struggle for a just and lasting peace is the same as our revolutionary struggle for national and social liberation. This is something we have always openly stated. Our sincerity can be tested in over 42 years of struggling for a just and lasting peace and never compromising on principles!
What is our vision of a just and lasting peace?
We will have laid the basis for a just and lasting peace when the Philippines becomes a truly sovereign country. When the Philippines is free from the dictates of imperialism and our people free from exploitation and oppression by the domestic ruling classes of compradors and landlords and their monopoly capitalist masters; when the leaders of the country are not corrupt but truly serve the people; when the peasants own the land they till with the implementation of revolutionary land reform and the concomitant support services for agricultural and rural development; and when the Philippines is no longer semi feudal because national industrialization is put into full play for a comprehensive and well-balanced economic development.
When this happens, don’t you think that we shall have a just and lasting peace?
In the meantime, the revolutionary struggle goes on.
The NDFP continues to call for the resumption of peace talks, because we want to forge an agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, on Constitutional and Political Reforms and eventually sign an agreement on End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces. But these agreements have to be done in the above mentioned order – not otherwise.
At present, there is an impasse on the talks. We insist compliance with signed agreement, to comply with the agreement to free all political prisoners especially the NDFP consultants.
Twenty three years after the signing of The Hague Joint Declaration, we realize that the road to a just and last peace through negotiations, is a long road. But we are determined to continue with the talks because agreements signed – and complied with, can make a difference in the lives of the Filipino people.
Speech delivered on the occasion of the NDFP’s 42nd Anniversary
25 April 2015 in Quezon City, Philippines