Continuing talks on socio-economic reforms, not impositions of ceasefire, show sincerity in peace talks

NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Socio Economic Reforms
Media Release
June 23, 2017

We condemn statements made by various officials of the GRP that try to make it appear that the NPA’s tactical offensive in Maasin, Iloilo on June 18 constitute lack of sincerity towards the peace talks on the part of the NDFP.

Such pronouncements, especially coming from Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana and Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, are aimed at stalling, if not ending, the peace talks which are currently tackling the socio-economic reforms that seek to address the root causes of the armed conflict.

Lorenzana and his pro-US and militarist ilk merely want to impose an indefinite ceasefire on the NDFP and not address the root causes of the armed conflict, which lay in the widespread landlessness, joblessness, low wages and contractualization, hunger and poverty being faced by the majority of our people.

We dare say: continuing the talks on socio-economic reforms is the paramount proof of sincerity in the peace talks, not the imposition of ceasefire on the other party. It is for this reason that the NDFP has been keen on continuing the talks even as the GRP and its armed forces continue to impose its total war policy against the people through Oplan Kapayapaan, their armed offensives against the revolutionary forces, and on top of these the imposition of martial law in the whole of Mindanao with threats to impose martial law all over the country.

The armed conflict can only cease if the people’s demands pertaining to land reform, national industrialization, protection of the environment, free exercise of the people’s economic, social and cultural rights, and economic sovereignty are addressed.

Chairs of GRP and NDFP Reciprocal Working Committees on Socioeconomic Reforms exchange documents during the 4th round of formal talks in Noordwijk NL

The parties’ agreement on free land redistribution, which was arrived at in the fourth round of the peace talks, is a step in the right direction. It should be followed up with more agreements on the proposed socio-economic reforms. Such agreements should not be hampered by unreasonable demands for the NPA to end its tactical offensives without a ceasefire agreement between the GRP and the NDFP.

We have been clear in saying that talks can continue even as fighting continues. There is no ceasefire between the GRP and NDFP in the Visayas, even as there the NDFP supports the GRP in fighting the terrorists groups in Mindanao.

We say to Commission on Higher Education commissioner and member of the GRP’s Reciprocal Working Panel on Socio-Economic Reforms Prospero de Vera: these are the reasons why the NPA’s tactical offensives continue. We urge De Vera, as befits his position, to join us in calling for the continuation of talks on socio-economic reforms, and to not chorus with pro-US and militarist elements of the government who want this agenda shelved.###

Alan Jazmines
Vice-Chairperson, NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Socio-Economic Reforms
Contact Number: + 63 949 137 7260