GRP-NDFP bilateral teams may arrive at consensus on CASER, ceasefire

By Antonio Colina IV

Labor Secretary Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III, who is concurrent chair of the government (GRP) peace negotiating panel, said the bilateral teams of the government (GRP) and National Democratic Front (NDF) are working out the contentious provisions on the social economic reforms and expressed optimism the two parties may possibly “arrive at a consensus” on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) and bilateral ceasefire.

Secretay Silvestre Bello III (Keith Bacongco / MANILA BULLETIN) Secretay Silvestre Bello III
(Credits: Keith Bacongco / MANILA BULLETIN file photo)

In an interview at the sidelines of the 2017 National Labor Day Celebration at the People’s Park in Davao City Monday (May 1) Bello said their respective committees exchanged drafts and held informal bilateral meetings in the country to discuss the contentious provisions as pointed out during the fourth formal GRP-NDF last April 3 to 7 in the Netherlands.

“Ang report sa akin ni Nani Braganza, who is chairman of the committee on CASER, mukhang magkakasundo na sila and they will submit it to the panel for final approval maybe by May 27 to June 1,” Bello said.

He said draft CASER will be presented in the fifth round of talks in Noorwijk aan Zee, The Netherlands on May 26 to June 2, 2017.

During the April 3 to 6 fourth round of talks in The Netherlands, the committees exchanged their respective comparative “color-coded matrices” identifying both contentious and acceptable provisions of the CASER drafts submitted by both parties.

The parties agreed to exchange comments on the contentious provisions of the National Industrialization and Economic Development (NIED) drafts on May 2; meeting of the NIED bilateral teams on May 4; submission of reports of the bilateral teams to the RWCs-SER and submission of GRP’s comparative color-coded matrices on Environmental Protection and Rights of the Working People and Livelihoods to NDFP on May 19; exchange of draft minutes of the fourth round of the RWCs-SER bilateral meetings on May 20.