May 23, 2018
Reference: Fr. Ben Alforque, Kapayapaan Convenor
We are heartened by recent reports of positive developments in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines ( GRP ) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
It augurs well for the country as we believe that peace negotiations provide an effective venue for the people — especially those most affected by the worsening political and economic crisis — to articulate their grievances and bring their demands to the negotiating table.
We urge both parties to ensure that the peace talks resume without any preconditions, and with only the interests of the people, and the nation, in mind.
We call on both parties to prioritize the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms ( CASER ) that will address the burdens being experienced by our people brought about by recently-imposed economic policies such as the TRAIN Law. We firmly believe that CASER can help lift our nation out of its social & economic malaise, and can possibly bring the armed conflict to a more peaceful resolution.
We call on both parties as well, to uphold agreements already laid out in the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law ( CARHRIHL ) as bases for building a “conducive” atmosphere for the peace process. Confidence-building measures can be initiated by both sides, the most urgent of which should be the release of political prisoners who have long suffered the injustice of imprisonment due to trumped-up charges and made to suffer subhuman prison conditions. There can be no real social justice nor genuine democracy in this country as long as the reality of political prisoners remain.#