AS THE peace negotiation is revving up in Rome, thousands of farmers from different rural areas gathered in masse at the city centers, airing their continuing plight even as the rains continue threaten to dampen their spirits.

Yet until the very last protesting voices were heard from the ground in response to the indignation from the speakers, every farmer and Lumad seems ready to stick it out.

The activity though was a direct lecture on what Caser or Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms is all about. It should be the answer to the age-old woes of the ordinary folks in the countryside and on the streets, the majority toiling masses whose lives are lived on a day to day basis, no home, no security… the faceless.

Once on the ground surrounded by the masses to whom this particular matter is being discussed, one cannot but feel the peoples’ common aspiration.

To quote the National Democratic Front’s perspective on Caser which say:

“The second item in the substantive agenda of the peace negotiations is social and economic reforms. It came second in the agenda only because there was the need to first “humanize” the armed conflict by binding the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) to observe human rights and international humanitarian law in the conduct of the armed conflict.

But the second item in the agenda is the main component or, as we often say, the meat of the peace negotiations. It is meant to address the root causes of the armed conflict so that both parties can come to a mutually agreed framework for institutionalizing social and economic reforms. By addressing the root causes, we lay the ground for resolving the armed conflict, ending the poverty of our people, and eventually achieving a just and lasting peace in our country.”

It cannot be denied that such perspective rightfully characterize the kind of negotiation that this agenda is. We know for a fact that this agenda could be the stumbling block for the negotiating parties like the previous attempts, but then, it is not also reason to continue the work for peace.

And so we continue to hope, and to find solutions where there are only problems.

Up to this time, there are still so little assurance from the government side about the consummation of this peace negotiation. Rights are continuously violated in the countryside, in the name of peace and security for those in power.

Still we continue to hope and to pray that peace may reign in our land.

The common tao is more attuned with the times, contrary to ignorant folks in the city. They know, that’s why they are here. It is their way of prodding the good people that persevered with them through the years, encouraging them on, sacrificing under the inclement weather.

May the force be with all Filipinos whose burning desire for peace in this land be assuage, very, very soon.