CONCERNED about the effect and consequence of the scuttled peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) relative to the peace and order in the country, several city councilors have filed a proposed resolution urging both concerned parties to resume their negotiations for peace in a non-adversarial way and focus on the substantial agenda of social, Economic and political reforms that address the root causes of the armed conflict, in deference to the outcry for a just and lasting peace.

The proposed measure introduced by City Councilors Arthur Allad-iw, Leandro Yangot Jr., Faustino Olowan and Benny Bomogao, explains that both parties (GRP & NDFP) had been successful in their 3rd round of talks last January 19 – 25, 2017 in Rome, Italy citing the following achievements: a. Both panels reached an agreement in principle on the first four (4) items of the draft on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), which includes free distribution of lands to landless farmers. The CASER is a landmark document that addresses the poverty problem in the country; b. The parties have agreed to form a bilateral working team of the Reciprocal Working Group (RWCs) to accelerate the drafting of the CASER; c. exchange of drafts and initial discussion on Political and Constitutional Reforms; d. signing of the Supplementary Agreement for the operationalization of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) for the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHIL) and; e. the panels agreed to discuss the GRP’s proposal for a Bilateral Ceasefire on February 22-25, 2017 in the Netherlands.

Furthermore, the proposed measure also pointed out that the termination of the peace negotiations would put to waste the substantial gains achieved under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte and considering that the decades old armed conflict had caused extensive damage particularly to the non-combatant civilians who bore the brunt and consequences of the conflict.

The councilors then stressed that the peace talks should not end and should serve as a process requiring broad public participation and democratic consensus and an act of politics that can potentially spark a genuine transformation in the Philippine society, and adding that that is precisely the objective on the call for the inclusion of community representatives in the Joint Monitoring Committee on the peace process especially on violations committed by or against any party so that the anybody found guilty of committing actions in violation of the agreement could be made answerable for such violation.

Finally, the said aldermen cited as a reminder that the city council had previously adopted a resolution in support of the peace talks and which was submitted to Secretary Silvestre Bello who is the head of the GRP panel and Luis Jalandoni of the NDFP panel when they recently visited the City of Baguio.