Substantive agreement on social and economic reforms conducive for achievement of peace

The Reciprocal Working Committee on Social Economic Reforms of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP RWC-SER) said the most “enabling environment conducive for the achievement of a just and sustainable peace” is the presence of much-needed social and economic reforms that is the objective of the discussions on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER).

The GRP panel announced today that it has decided not to participate in the fifth round of talks.

“We came prepared and ready for the fifth round of talks. We came here with the sincere intention of finishing the discussions on agrarian reform and rural development (ARRD) and starting deliberations on the next two important sections of the CASER draft — national industrialization and economic development (NIED) and environmental protection, rehabilitation and compensation,” said Randall Echanis, member of the NDFP RWC-SER.

“We consider the bilateral meetings in Manila on ARRD and NIED held between April to May as productive concerning the participation and commitment of both reciprocal working committees on SER to achieve an agreement that will address the long-standing issues of landlessness, poverty and unemployment. In fact, we have reached key unities with regards to the contentious provisions on ARRD,” said RWC-SER member Alan Jazmines.

The recent developments and GRP’s dogged insistence on its unreasonable demands to the NDFP could pose debilitating effects on the negotiations,” Echanis said.

“This undue delay that was single-handedly caused by the GRP will impact the momentum of the discussions on CASER but it will not diminish the clamor of the Filipino people for genuine social and economic reforms,” Echanis said.

According to a statement issued by the NDFP Panel, the GRP has been insisting on its demand that the Communist Party of the Philippines rescind its order to the New People’s Army for intensified tactical offensives which are in fact in response to the AFP’s widespread military operations and aerial bombings targeting peasant communities that intensified after the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao and the signing of a joint ceasefire agreement without reaching a significant agreement on CASER.

Echanis said the NDFP RWC-SER will continue with its scheduled work. “We are ready to resume discussions on CASER as soon as the GRP is committed and ready,” Echanis said. ###