Ilocos peasants join call to resume peace talks

The Solidarity of Peasants Against Exploitation (STOP Exploitation) today urged the Duterte administration to return to the negotiating table with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Zaldy Alfiler, secretary general, said that his group does not want the gains from the three formal meetings of the government and NDFP go to waste.

In six months, the negotiators were able to forge understandings to speed up the creation of substantial agreements – particularly on socio-economic, and political and constitutional reforms but, all these will be lost if the government continues to rescind from the talks,” Alfiler said as he urged the GRP and NDFP to return to the negotiating table to move the peace process forward.

Last February 7, 2017, the government sent a notice of termination of the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines which has stalled the peace talks between the two parties.

Alfiler underscored that the peasants and the indigenous peoples in the countryside are the most eager to end the conflict, pointing that they have always been at the receiving end of the Armed Forces of the Philippines all-out war since the time of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

He said that instead of pushing for an all-out war and the death penalty, the President should instead mark House Bill 555 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) as urgent and priority for enactment.

The enactment of a genuine agrarian reform program that will benefit millions of farmers will boost the chance of resolving the root cause of the civil strife that has ravaged our country for almost half a century,” explained Alfiler.

The GARB has been pending before the House of Representatives for the past decade. The main content of the GARB is free land distribution and the provision of sufficient production assistance to address rural poverty.#