Three points of view: Analyses and developments after the second round of peace talks

At the conclusion of the second round of the GRP-NDF peace talks in Oslo, Norway, various commentators offer their perspective on the outcome, and the crucial issues which still need to be addressed.

Three points of view:
Analyses and developments after the second round of peace talks

1. Business World: “Thorny issues emerge in Oslo peace talks”

Carol Araullo points to the “less upbeat tone” of the GRP and the NDFP at the conclusion of the second round of peace talks, compared to the first round in August. While the objectives for the second round were achieved — “arriving at common outlines for the substantive agenda” on social, economic, political, and constitutional reforms, as well as a prospective end to armed hosilities — negotiations on the first prong, Social and Economic Reforms (SER), were troubled by “contrasting if not diametrically opposed points of view” on the roots of the country’s problems, and subsequently, how to address these problems.

“For the GRP, it is a matter of making the system work better, to be more “inclusive,” be less bureaucratic or more responsive to the poor and underprivileged sections of society, and, perhaps, more accommodating to the demands of the NDFP forces that have been fighting for major reforms… The GRP panel seemed to expect the NDFP to agree to the premise that socioeconomic reforms should dovetail the way the GRP is organized… In contrast, the NDFP presented a radically different analysis of what ails Philippine society and consequently what are the major socioeconomic reforms needed to solve these ills. The NDFP-proposed outline reflected this in terms of highlighting the long-standing problem of land monopoly by a few, necessitating a genuine land reform program anchored on the principle of land to the tiller.”


2. Philippine Star: “Certain issues Duterte must resolve urgently”

Satur Ocampo notes that President Duterte must immediately address the latest developments in the GRP-NDF peace negotiations which began in June 2016. The most urgent of these is the issuance of an amnesty proclamation for the release of political prisoners.

In August, the two parties agreed to reconcile their unilateral ceasefire declarations into a bilateral interim agreement by October 27, which would “correlate, on the same date, President Duterte’s issuance of the amnesty proclamation.” However, the draft amnesty proclamation was submitted late to the Executive Secretary.

“Because of the delayed submission, and given the president’s trip to China, it’s doubtful if the proclamation can happen on or before October 27. (Once signed, it’ll have to be sent to Congress for the latter’s concurrence.) Thus, both the amnesty proclamation and the bilateral ceasefire accord are now up in the air.”



3. Bulatlat: “National minorities push for rights, welfare in peace talks”

Ronalyn Olea discusses the oppression and discrimination which the country’s national minorities continue to experience. The NDFP consultant for national minority affairs, Kennedy Bangibang, said that “the national minorities’ agenda are embodied in the NDFP’s drafts on socioeconomic reforms and political and Constitutional reforms.” Amirah Lidasan of Suara Bangsamoro praised Duterte’s promise of an “inclusive peace policiy” which would mean negotiations not just with the NDF, but with the Moro National Liberation Front and Moro Islamic Liberation Front. However, Bangibang warned that despite the ongoing peace talks, the political killings and arrests have continued, thus national minorities must remain vigilant and actively work for peace.

“Amid the ceasefire declaration, Bangibang said, they received reports of military offensives from different regions. Just this week, two Lumad have been killed in Compostela Valley. Bangibang called on fellow national minorities to continue organizing and mobilizing for their rights and welfare.”