1. GRP-NDFP Joint Statement signed during the 14-15 June 2016 Exploratory Talks
Representatives from the incoming GRP and NDFP Peace Panels held exploratory talks June 14-15, in Oslo, Norway under the facilitation of the Royal Norwegian Government, setting the possible dates and agenda items for the formal resumption of the Peace Talks.
2. GRP-NDFP Joint Statement signed during the 22-26 August 2016 Peace Talks
The Formal Peace Talks between the GRP and the NDFP successfully resumed from 22 to 26 August 2016, facilitated and hosted by the Royal Norwegian Government in Oslo, Norway. This Joint statement was signed during the closing ceremonies embodying their agreements on the following: (1) Reaffirmation of previous agreements, (2) Reconstitution of the JASIG list, (3) Acceleration of the Peace Negotiations, (4) Releases, (5) Amnesty Proclamation, (6) Ceasefire, and (7) Next Meeting. The Panels agreed to meet again on October 8-12, 2016 in Oslo, Norway.
The victory of Rodrigo Duterte in the 2016 Presidential Elections underscored the Filipino people’s strong rejection of the US-Aquino regime. Worsening poverty, corruption and criminality have been key issues which fueled the people’s rejection of the administration of Benigno Aquino III. This victory also provides a historic opportunity for the peace process to resume and lead to substantial gains for the people.
In building his own administration, Pres. Duterte has reached out to various sectors and political groups, including the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). His association with the Left is an open book, and has committed to work for the release of all political prisoners, resumption of the peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) and the Government of the Philippines (GRP) peace talks and, in an unprecedented move, offered several key Cabinet position to the CPP which the latter has then headhunted among progressives and submitted names.
The resumption of the peace talks is a significant move to broaden and strengthen support for the Filipino people’s desire for a just and lasting peace. Preliminary talks were held even prior to Duterte’s inauguration and formal talks are set to resume this month. This indicates efforts of both parties to come to substantial agreements, including the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), which is second of the four substantive agreements in the NDF-GRP peace talks. Confidence-building measures such as release of political prisoners have also been discussed last month. The President has also declared his openness to the building of a democratic coalition government with all progressive forces.
A just and lasting peace bodes well for people to genuinely claim and exercise their rights, and empower them. A just peace lays the ground in building a genuinely democratic society that allows for people to exercise their rights and empowers them. Peace is not merely the absence of war as seen in militarization of communities, or in various people’s rights violations. It is seen in people being able to build communities of democracies from community, local, national levels that link with global concerns.
The struggle for a just peace rests in people’s assertion of collective action. There is need to further amplify calls for just peace, release of political prisoners, and addressing the roots of the armed conflict by going into the substantive parts as outlined in the CASER.
International actors play an important role in creating a constituency for just and lasting peace. Voices from the international community greatly shape public opinion, government policies, etal that impact on peace processes.
Support calls have to be generated from the broadest range possible outside of the country. It is in this context that JustPeacePH is created.