Author Topic: GRP-NDF sub-panels okay framework for peace accord  (Read 3112 times)


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GRP-NDF sub-panels okay framework for peace accord
« on: October 10, 2016, 07:21:30 AM »
GRP-NDF sub-panels okay framework for peace accord

MANILA, Oct. 9 (PNA) -- Negotiators from the Philippine government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) yesterday agreed on common frameworks and outlines of the last three substantive agenda that will comprise the final peace agreement with communist guerrillas.

The common frameworks and outlines were completed after marathon sessions conducted by the Reciprocal Working Committee (RWC) and Working Groups (RWGs) of the GRP and NDF for Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), Political and Constitutional Reforms (PCR) and End of Hostilities/Disposition of Forces (EOH/DOF).

The report of the RWCs and the RWG will be submitted to the negotiating panels of the two parties, which will meet today to discuss the agreements for approval before closing the second round of peace talks being held in Asker, Norway, a suburb near Oslo.

"The efforts extended by the RWC and RWGs of both panels are commendable. Exhibiting a great amount of patience, they literally worked round the clock and refused to be stymied by minor differences of opinions," said Labor Secretary and government panel chair Silvestre H. Bello III.

"It was a roller-coaster ride but in the end, both parties reached their desired destination. Sharing a common vision, they were willing to walk the extra mile just to move the peace process forward," Bello added.

As expected, the longest session was reserved for the discussion on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) which would eventually tackle the most contentious issues such as agrarian reform, national industrialization and foreign policy.

The GRP-RWC on CASER is chaired by Atty. Efren Moncupa, a human rights lawyer and former political detainee, with government negotiator Hernani Braganza as supervising panel member. The NDF side, on the other hand, is led by panel member Juliet de Lima-Sison.

In the RWC report, the overall objective set for CASER is the "eradication of Philippine poverty and reduction of inequality in all their aspects and dimensions to have productive, decent and dignified lives."

The agreed outcomes for CASER include:

Rural equality and development to achieve food self-sufficiency; A sovereign, self-reliant and industrialized national economy; Protected and rehabilitated environment, just compensation for affected populations, and sustainable development; Social, economic and cultural rights of the working people upheld and discrimination eliminated; Sustainable living incomes for all; Affordable, accessible and quality social services and utilities; Sovereign foreign economic policies and trade relations supporting rural development and national industrialization; and Monetary and fiscal policy regime for national development.

Both parties also agreed that even before a negotiated political settlement is reached, Filipinos may immediately enjoy the benefits of "peace dividends" derived from CASER, ceasefire, PCR, EOH-DOF, and CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law).

"Even while the GRP and the NDF are on negotiation stage, reforms may already be implemented as a result of agreements on topics such as agrarian reform and national industrialization," Bello explained.

"We need not wait for the conclusion of a final peace agreement before Filipinos enjoy the fruits of concurrent peace negotiations," he added.

In their report to the panels, the RWC on CASER of both parties agreed to fulfill their commitment to "endeavor to complete work within a period of six months." An extension may be allowed provided it does not exceed more than nine months.

The RWG on PCR, for their part, agreed on a common outline that includes discussions on:

National Sovereignty and Self-determination

Economic Sovereignty and National Patrimony

Self-determination, National Minorities, Indigenous Peoples, and Bangsamoro

Social Justice

Form/System of Government

Electoral and Political Party Reforms

Constitutional Bodies

Accountability and Good Governance

Judicial Reform

Fiscal Policy and Management

Security Reform

International Relations

The RWG on PCR is expected to fully complete its work by January 2017 for submission to the GRP-NDF panels.

The GRP-RWC on PCR is chaired by Dean Sedfery Candelaria of Ateneo College of Law, with government negotiator Rene Sarmiento as supervising panel member. Their counterparts from NDF are led by Communist Party Founding Chairman Jose Ma. Sison.

The RWG on EOH-DOF, for its part, agreed to adopt the outlines submitted by both parties. The outline contains eight main parts:


Declaration of Principles

Bases, Scope and Applicability

Definition of Terms

End of Hostilities

Disposition of Forces

Mechanisms to Implement the Comprehensive Agreement on EOH/DOF

Concluding Provisions

The RWG on EOH/DOF is chaired by Defense Assistant Secretary Teodora Torralba III, with government negotiators Antonio Arellano and Angela Librado-Trinidad both supervising the RWG. The NDF side is led by Wilma Tiamzon as chair and Benito Tiamzon as vice chair.

“With these frameworks and outlines, we are right on schedule. We expect a final peace agreement after one year so we can devote five more years of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term in implementing the reforms agreed upon by both parties,” Bello pointed out. (PNA)