26 Matulungin St. Central Dist., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel./Fax; +63 (2) 920-9099; E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net Website: www.kalikasan.net


26 August 2016

Six-month timeline for comprehensive socio-economic reform agreement in GRP-NDFP peace talks hailed by green group

News of the swift agreement on six major issues on just the fourth day of the ongoing peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), and the subsequent agreement on a six-month timeline for a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) tentatively starting on October 24 this year were hailed today by environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE).

“With this welcome speedy development in the GRP-NDFP peace talks, we hope the GRP follows through with their reaffirmation to previous agreements on human rights by immediately pulling out their military and paramilitary troops inflicting human rights violations with impunity against communities opposing mining and other forms of development aggression. We also hope both peace panels would prioritize the people’s environmental agenda in the discussion on social and economic reforms,” said Leon Dulce, campaign coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

The six agreed-upon agenda in the peace talks are:

· The affirmation of previous agreements such as the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL);

· Reconstitution of the NDFP’s list of JASIG-protected personnel;

· Acceleration of the peace negotiations;

· The mode of the interim ceasefire;

· General amnesty for NDFP political prisoners; and

· Convening of the CARHRIHL Joint Monitoring Committee

During the first day of the resumption of peace talks, NDFP reciprocal working committee on social and economic reforms chair Juliet De Lima-Sison, said environmental reforms will be covered by the discussion of the CASER.

“The negotiations on CASER is an important venue to pursue the environmental reforms of both parties such as the reorientation of the extractive industries such as big mining, agri-business, fisheries, and energy towards needs-based utilization, environmental protection, agrarian reform, and national industrialization. These deep-seated environmental crises are part of the grave social injustices experienced by the majority of the Filipino people in which armed revolt is rooted,” said Dulce.

“The Duterte administration’s avowed campaign against irresponsible mining, for instance, has so far temporarily suspended at least 10 large-scale mining projects. But this will remain a stop-gap measure until we are able to strengthen the mining regulatory regime and ensure people’s ownership and control over the management of our mineral resources. While we are pursuing a new pro-people and pro-environment mining law through the People’s Mining Bill in Congress, the CASER can likewise adopt provisions on a pro-people and pro-environment mining as well,” Dulce further explained.

Kalikasan PNE was earlier joined by 40 other environmental and people’s organizations in forming the Ecological Challenge for Change, a broad coalition that aimed to present a 14-point people’s agenda on environmental reforms to the Duterte administration. The group said it intends to bring the Eco-Challenge before the two peace panels.

“Mining is just one of the 14 immediate environmental issues outlined in the Eco-Challenge for Change that we enjoin both negotiating parties to seriously address. We can help both peace panels in crafting and refining the CASER’s provisions on the environment. It is our contribution to helping realize the people’s aspiration for a genuine lasting peace based on ensuring people’s democratic needs and rights—indeed, a ‘peace of the living’ and not a ‘peace of the dead’,” ended Dulce.#

National Secretariat
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment

26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: 02 433 0184 | E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net | Site: www.kalikasan.net