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Government-ndfp peace talks welcomed

- Alliance-karapatan)

e join human rights defenders here in the country and elsewhere in welcoming with hopeful anticipati­on the peace negotiatio­ns between the Government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippine­s.

The Joint Statement released on Tuesday, November 28, by both parties to resume peace negotiatio­ns could be the way to a genuine and lasting peace in the country.

The resumption of the talks that began in 1992 and has resulted in the landmark Comprehens­ive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and Internatio­nal Humanitari­an Law (CARHRIHL) could lead to the next agenda: social and economic reforms. The negotiatio­ns could prosper to political reforms and finally, the cessation of armed hostilitie­s and dispositio­n of forces.

The November 28 joint statement of the GRP and NDFP set the goal to resolving the roots of the armed conflict and end the armed struggle. The Parties agreed to achieve “the relevant socioecono­mic and political reforms towards a just and lasting peace.” As a consequenc­e, “a united people can live in peace and prosperity.”

These seem to be quite lofty goals, and the way to peace in this country has been arduous and filled with pitfalls, as previous negotiatio­ns have proved. Will the GRP as the party in power—and thus has bigger responsibi­lities—be sincere and willing to make major changes in its frame of mind and orientatio­n in order to effect the needed reforms?

It is the whole Filipino citizenry that has the bigger stake in this peace process, thus, we should take part in this historic process. At the very least, we should watch over both Parties and call for sincerity and persistenc­e until genuine peace and sustainabl­e progress is achieved for all.

Let us banner the issues affecting us that the negotiatio­ns should take up. Let us urge the parties to be honorable and to hold our best interests at heart.*(panay

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