NMs closely monitor peace negotiations

By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
www.nordis.net

QUEZON CITY — The national minorities are keenly monitoring the developments of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) especially the discussions on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER).

This according to Joanna Cariño of the Sandugo, an alliance of indigenous peoples and Moros during the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the signing of The Hague Joint Declaration at the University of the Philippines last September 2.

Cariño said that IP and Moro communities were hopeful that the CASER would resolve the historical neglect, continuing plunder and relentless militarization of their ancestral lands. She said the Sandugo even passed a resolution for the CASER to have a separate provision to address the socio-economic concerns of IPs and Moros. But the panels were not even able to discuss the resolution, she said.

Cariño said that they are no longer hopeful that the Duterte administration will seriously pursue the peace talks given the fascist attacks against IP and Moro communities, the Marawi war and the extended Martial Law in Mindanao.

Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez said peace should be the priority of government not extrajudicial killings and extended martial law. “We must address the root causes of the armed conflict rather than stoke the fire of war among the marginalized,” he said.

Iñiguez called on peace advocates to work harder now that the prospect of peace talks under the Duterte administration looks dim. He said that peace is possible but peace advocates must find creative ways to convince everybody to pursue peace.

Iñiguez also commended those who drafted The Hague Declaration. He said that the declaration digs up the inequalities between the rich and the poor in Philippine society and finds ways to correct them.

In a video message, Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the NDFP said that in a span of one year, the Duterte administration has shown its fascist nature with the declaration of all out war and suspension of the formal talks.

Sison said that the NDFP has been flexible in pursuing the peace talks with the GRP but has never violated The Hague Declaration. He reiterated that the declarations remains relevant.

Sison said that even if the peace talks will not succeed under the Duterte administration, there is still hope that there will be an administration in the future that will be more open in pursuing peace.

“Whether the GRP is ready or not, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has no choice but to continue the revolution,” Sison said.

The Hague Joint Declaration is an agreement signed between the GRP and the NDFP on September 1, 1992. The said declaration set the framework of the peace negotiations between the two parties.

In a video message, NDFP Senior Adviser Louie Jalandoni said that in order to ensure that the results of the peace talks would benefit the people, The Hague Joint Declaration set basic principles that include parity, reciprocity and non-capitulation. He said that the declaration also set the four substantive agenda: on human rights and international humanitarian law, on socio-economic reforms, on political reforms and on disposition of forces; in that particular order.

Jalandoni said the basic principles and four substantive agenda will ensure that the root causes of the armed conflict is addressed to benefit the people.

Jalandoni said The Hague Joint Declaration will be relevant until just peace is achieved as he criticized the efforts of Teresita Deles, presidential adviser for the peace process under the Aquino administration who called the declaration “a document of perpetual division.”# nordis.net

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