By Charissa Luci-Atienza
A progressive solon is calling on all Filipinos to campaign for the resumption of peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDPF).
Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao said aside from the peasants’ groups and urban poor, the middle class should also urge the Duterte administration to return to the negotiating table without any preconditions.
“It is essential that the people get involved in the campaign pushing for the resumption of the peace talks, as they are the main stakeholders as well as the main beneficiary of reforms under the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio – Economic Reforms (CASER), the very core of the negotiations,” he said.
He explained that CASER calls for free land distribution to farmers as well as national industrialization.
“The resumption of the peace talks will also serve as the venue for settling other concerns of both panel”, Casilao said.
He cited that public opinion will play a big role in pursuing the path to peace based on justice, especially the opinion of the masses of peasants, workers, urban poor, ordinary government workers who have shouldered the impact of various anti-people economic program and policies.
“Their voices and suggestions can enrich the substantive agenda and they can use the peace talks to ventilate their sufferings from anti-people policies,” Casilao said.
He also cited the crucial role of rural people in the peace talks as their exploitation and poverty due to landlordism and incursions of big agri-business has breed decades-long injustice which forced them to take up arms.
“That is why it is very important to press for the continuation of the peace talks so we can all lay on the table not only these concerns and as well find ways to improve and implement signed agreements that serve as guidelines for the peace process,” the neophyte lawmaker said.
This includes the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL), The Hague Declaration and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee on both panels’ peace negotiators”, he noted.