A MILESTONE has again been reached on the third day of the third round of talks as the government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front (NDF) signed the Supplemental Guidelines of Joint Monitoring Committee for Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (Carhrihl) last January 1 in Rome, Italy.
The document was signed by GRP panel chair Silvestre Bello III and NDF panel chair Fidel Agcaoili with witnesses Elisaebth Slattum, special envoy to the Philippine Peace Process, and lawyer Efren Moncupa, Justice Undersecretary Antonio Kho Jr., Col. Facundo Palafox IV, and Hernania Braganza for the GRP monitoring committee and Agcaoili, Coni Ledesma, Concha Araneta, and Benito Tiamozon for the NDF monitoring committee.
The document lays down the mandate of the JMC, the procedures should there be any complaints of violations of human rights and the international humanitarian law in the context of the armed conflict.
From the past, we know that there will be several charges of violations, especially when the two parties continue on in the context of conflict with the other and not peace for everyone.
Thus, it is important that as another milestone has been reached in the peace negotiation between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-NDF-New People's Army that the general public, the Filipinos, be made aware of everything that is happening and why peace is important.
We know how easily the national capital manipulated by a few interest groups can jeopardize peace efforts especially because the conflict in the countryside and the sufferings of the people caught in between are not felt there. It's easy to agitate an uninformed mass.
While it is noteworthy that the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp) is active in social media, there is need for a greater push, for a core group tasked to popularize the agenda in both conventional and social media to reach out to the widest audience.
In the end, the numbers matter as all these agreements will have to pass muster from the people themselves. And we all know that the most dangerous constituents are the uninformed and prejudiced. We cannot have that as majority when plebiscite time comes.