August 6, 2016
Reference: Renato M. Reyes, Jr. BAYAN secretary general
With due respect to the President, sincerity and seriousness in peace negotiations is not measured in terms of tough talk nor via temporary ceasefire declarations. The real measure of seriousness and sincerity in the talks would be the upholding of previously signed agreements and the forging of new agreements on substantive agenda such as socio-economic, political and constitutional reforms. These are the discussions on how to end the decades-long problems of poverty, landlessness, underdevelopment, unemployment, elite democracy and so on. We would like to see both sides of the armed conflict get down to work on these issues as soon as possible.
The NDFP side has previously presented a draft comprehensive agreement for socio-economic reforms. It is ready to talk. The new GPH panel should do the same. It should come up with a comprehensive draft with clear proposals. Previous GPH panels from the time of Arroyo to Aquino failed to come up with any credible draft since they were more preoccupied with seeking the NDFP’s capitulation.
We have submitted to both panels the People’s Agenda for Change outlining much needed reforms which we hope they could consider in discussions during peace negotiations. There are concrete proposals for land reform, national industrialization, self-reliant economic development, people’s participation in government, a progressive social policy and an independent foreign policy. The people are yearning for substantial reforms as a way to address the roots of the armed conflict. Let these be at the center of the discussions in the peace negotiations. ###