Peace talks with Reds to solve agrarian unrest — solon

Published June 8, 2018, 1:08 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Ellson Quismorio

Anakpawis Party-List Rep. Ariel Casilao sees the continuation of the government’s peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as the key to resolving unrest in the agrarian sector.

EPA / MANILA BULLETIN
(EPA / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Even the president knows that the New People’s Army (NPA) is a peasant army waging an agrarian revolution. Thus, to solve the armed conflict, landlessness must be addressed,” said Casilao, who is part of the leftist Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives.

The NDFP and NPA are two arms of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which has engaged the national government in a decades-long, bloody insurgency.

The NDFP carries out negotiations with the Philippine government in behalf of the group, while the NPA serves as its military unit.

Casilao made the statement during a demonstration to mark the 30th anniversary of Republic Act (RA) 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) Act. Hundreds of farmers from various regions in Luzon joined the protest action.

The militant solon said CARP’s failure has been exposed by farmers across the country whose rights on land were systematically violated. He said the law wasted a gross P250-billion budget in three decades as landlessness remains chronic.

“It was useless against violent abuses on farmers, thus, under this regime, 126 farmers fell victims of extrajudicial killings that involved government forces as perpetrators,” he said.

Casilao underscored the substantial agenda of the peace talks with the NDFP identifies poor farmers as the primary beneficiaries. NDFP’s draft Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), he noted, is pushing for free distribution of land.

Casilao said the public should pressure the Duterte administration to seriously and sincerely engage in the peace talks by respecting past agreements such as the 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Law (CARHRIHL) and 1995 Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG).

The lawmaker said the government “should stop self-contradiction when it engages in peace talks on one side, but grossly violates the people’s rights on the other side.”

Casilao also chided President Duterte for threatening emergency rule “on a weak justification of mounting criminality.”

He further called the peace talks as “a road to a just and lasting peace, democratic way of life and genuine national development.”

In March, Casilao and some 60 other congressmen across various party lines signed House Resolution (HR) No.1803, which urged President Duterte to resume the stalled peace talks between the Philippine government and the Reds.

Signatories of the resolution included solons from the Supermajority, the Minority, and the two independent blocs from House, which are the Magnificent Seven and the Makabayan. The House currently has 292 members.

“Even the president knows that the New People’s Army (NPA) is a peasant army waging an agrarian revolution. Thus, to solve the armed conflict, landlessness must be addressed,” said Casilao, who is part of the leftist Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives.

The NDFP and NPA are two arms of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which has engaged the national government in a decades-long, bloody insurgency.

The NDFP carries out negotiations with the Philippine government in behalf of the group, while the NPA serves as its military unit.

Casilao made the statement during a demonstration to mark the 30th anniversary of Republic Act (RA) 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) Act. Hundreds of farmers from various regions in Luzon joined the protest action.

The militant solon said CARP’s failure has been exposed by farmers across the country whose rights on land were systematically violated. He said the law wasted a gross P250-billion budget in three decades as landlessness remains chronic.

“It was useless against violent abuses on farmers, thus, under this regime, 126 farmers fell victims of extrajudicial killings that involved government forces as perpetrators,” he said.

Casilao underscored the substantial agenda of the peace talks with the NDFP identifies poor farmers as the primary beneficiaries. NDFP’s draft Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), he noted, is pushing for free distribution of land.

Casilao said the public should pressure the Duterte administration to seriously and sincerely engage in the peace talks by respecting past agreements such as the 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Law (CARHRIHL) and 1995 Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG).

The lawmaker said the government “should stop self-contradiction when it engages in peace talks on one side, but grossly violates the people’s rights on the other side.”

Casilao also chided President Duterte for threatening emergency rule “on a weak justification of mounting criminality.”

He further called the peace talks as “a road to a just and lasting peace, democratic way of life and genuine national development.”

In March, Casilao and some 60 other congressmen across various party lines signed House Resolution (HR) No.1803, which urged President Duterte to resume the stalled peace talks between the Philippine government and the Reds.

Signatories of the resolution included solons from the Supermajority, the Minority, and the two independent blocs from House, which are the Magnificent Seven and the Makabayan. The House currently has 292 members.

 
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