Duterte gov’t urged to ‘walk the peace talks’ by immediately
implementing GRP and NDFP common agenda on socio-economic, environmental
reforms

Kalikasan PNE press release

27 January 2017

Environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the
Environment (Kalikasan PNE) lauded the successful conclusion of the
third round of peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the
Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines
(NDFP) recently held in Rome, Italy.

In a joint statement between the GRP and the NDFP released at the end of
the third round, both peace panels announced that they have made
significant headway in the negotiations for the Comprehensive Agreement
on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), The parties said the next round
of formal talks in April will be discussing the remaining parts of the
CASER, including the section on Environmental Protection, Rehabilitation
and Compensation.

“We warmly congratulate the success of the recent GRP-NDFP peace
negotiations and are eagerly anticipating the next round where
environmental reforms will be discussed. The Duterte administration
should not wait for the finish line to ‘walk the peace talks’, and
should immediately get to work in implementing the GRP and NDFP’s common
reform proposals,” said Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator of
Kalikasan PNE.

In a national consultation held last December 2016, the NDFP presented
to social movements and civil society their draft for CASER. Notable
provisions in the ‘Environmental Protection, Rehabilitation and
Compensation’ section of the NDFP’s CASER include, among others:

* The prohibition of open-pit mining, reclamation, export logging and
monocrop plantations, hazardous and toxic wastes and technologies, and
other ecologically destructive practices;

* The prohibition of patenting and other forms of foreign and corporate
control over our flora, fauna, and other biological resources; and

* The central role of organized communities and sectors in the planning,
implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of environment and natural
resource management.

“The Duterte administration can immediately look into doable provisions
in the NDFP CASER draft especially on prohibiting environmentally
destructive and pollutive practices. The problem is that the Duterte
administration has done little to reverse anti-people and
anti-environment policies of previous administrations that are in
conflict with the social and environmental justice provisions of the
CASER,” explained Bautista.

The group noted how some of the Duterte administration’s initial reforms
have slowed down, After having suspended 10 large-scale mines and
recommended suspension for 20 more after they failed to pass an audit
conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, not
one has been given definitive suspension or closure orders.

The Duterte government also continued to ignore public opposition to
their pet programs, including the continuing expansion of dirty
coal-fired power plants and oil palm and other agri-industrial plantations.

“Aside from the unaddressed impunity against the environment, there is
also a worsening impunity against environment defenders under Duterte.
There are already at least 10 documented cases of extrajudicial killings
against environment defenders in just seven months of the Duterte
presidency,” said Bautista.

“The Duterte administration’s sincerity in advancing change in our
country will be measure based on the consistency of their actions.
Duterte’s talk of peace based on social justice, which includes the
protection and rehabilitation of the environment and compensation for
affected communities, should be matched with concrete actions to curb
the political killings, militarization, and environmental destruction
and plunder. We hope both parties would take concrete steps to address
these continuing problems leading to the fourth round of peace talks
this coming April,” ended Bautista.#

National Secretariat
Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
26 Matulungin St. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: 02 920 90 99 | E-mail: secretariat@kalikasan.net | Site:
www.kalikasan.net