The Ramento Project for Rights Defenders (RPRD) welcomes the recent pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte ordering the resumption of peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines with both elation and cautious wariness.
“With the significant milestones that the parties have reached before the talks were stalled late last year, the parties may further agree on far-reaching undertakings that will truly serve the interest of the Filipino people now that the GRP and the NDFP will return to the formal negotiating table,” said RPRD executive director Fr. Jonash Joyohoy.
The respective working committees of the GRP and the NDFP have, for one, agreed as a matter of principle on free land distribution during the Third Round of Talks held in Rome. Unprecedented milestones have also been reached in some sections of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, such as on national industrialization and economic development.
While elated over this much-awaited turn of events, Fr. Joyohoy has also expressed wariness over the GRP’s commitment to see this through.
“If there are issues that the parties need to address, these can be tackled before the negotiating table rather than back out of the talks again,” said Fr. Joyohoy.
The RPRD is also alarmed over news that there are “preconditions” being set for the resumption of talks.
“The Hague Joint Declaration has stipulated a provision against preconditions that may be imposed by either or both parties of the peace talks. We enjoin those concerned to honor and uphold previously-signed and binding agreements not just as a matter of compliance but of justice as well,” said Fr. Joyohoy.
As a Church of peace-loving Filipinos, the RPRD, the human rights advocacy arm of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, continue to call on the GRP and the NDFP to resume the peace talks that is geared towards not the fulfillment of the people’s aspiration for a just peace. (RPRD News)