Philippine gov't, Maoists agree on peace pact framework

Common frameworks, outlines completed after marathon sessions conducted by various bodies involved in Oslo, Norway talks

Philippine gov't, Maoists agree on peace pact framework

World Bulletin / News Desk

With a new round of peace talks between the Philippines government and communist rebel panels entering a third day Sunday, negotiators have agreed on common frameworks and outlines that will comprise the final peace agreement.

The two sides declared indefinite unilateral ceasefires in first round talks in Oslo in September as part of President Rodrigo Duterte's efforts to end a conflict that has lasted almost 50 years and killed around 40,000 people.

In a statement on Sunday, Labor Secretary and government panel chair Silvestre Bello said the common frameworks and outlines had been completed after marathon sessions conducted by the various bodies involved in the talks.

"The efforts extended by the RWC [Reciprocal Working Committee] and RWGs [Reciprocal Working Groups] 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 opinion," he said.

Bello said a report would be submitted to the negotiating panels of the two parties, which will meet Sunday to discuss the agreements for approval before closing the second round of peace talks being held in Asker, a suburb near Oslo.

"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.

The statement said that 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 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."

Rural equality and development to achieve food self-sufficiency; sovereign, self-reliant and industrialized national economy; protected and rehabilitated environment, just compensation for affected populations, and sustainable development were the major agreed outcomes for CASER.

The panels also agreed to tackle other issues such as upholding social, economic and cultural rights of the working people; 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.

In a related development, a draft amnesty proclamation covering a total of 434 detained communist rebels was submitted for the approval of Duterte, according to the government's negotiator with the communist group.

The draft proclamation covers leaders of the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA).

They include the 22 NDF consultants released for the 1st round of talks in August.

Peace talks between the government and CPP have been on and off for around 30 years, with over 40 rounds of formal and informal talks taking place.

Negotiations, however, have frequently been scuttled due to hard line demands from either side.

In July, Duterte ordered the release of the 22 detained NDF consultants, 16 of whom later joined the initial Aug. 22-28 Oslo talks, to fulfill a campaign promise and jumpstart negotiations.

He also declared a unilateral ceasefire, only to later lift it after communist rebels ambushed an army patrol, and then reinstate it on the eve of the Oslo talks, which the NDF reciprocated with an indefinite and unilateral ceasefire of its own.

The CPP, NDF and the NPP have waged one of the longest insurgencies in Asia in an effort for agrarian reform, national industrialization and an independent foreign policy

Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Ekim 2016, 16:26