EDITORIAL | Breakthrough

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Sunday, April 9, 2017
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PEACE-loving Filipinos welcome another successful round of formal peace negotiations between the government and the communists, specifically the agreements on free land distribution, interim joint ceasefire, and release of political prisoners.

The fourth round of talks concluded on a positive note. Free land distribution is a breakthrough, a just and necessary step to address the long-standing problems of landlessness and agrarian unrest. Free land distribution is key to dismantling the so-called land monopoly or the concentration of thousands of hectares of land in the hands of very few landlord families. But to complement land distribution, rural industrialization is needed. It includes the provision of irrigation systems, post-harvest facilities, and farm-to-market roads among others.

On the other hand, while the signing of the Agreement on an Interim Joint Ceasefire offers much relief, there is wisdom in securing the approval of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms ahead of any bilateral ceasefire agreement. Or can both agreements be signed simultaneously?

Certainly, the peace talks are about addressing the roots of armed conflict by bringing fundamental socio-economic reforms, and not merely surrendering of arms without seeking answers to long-standing problems.

Both sides also agreed to release prisoners. The government recommended the conditional pardon of 23, exploring all means necessary to do so. Also, both parties also agreed to undertake measures to immediately and safely release four New People’s Army captives.  It is wise to go back to the commitment and obligation to free all political prisoners, as stipulated in the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.

Yes, more than ever, the public should support the talks. The most important and decisive in realizing a just and lasting peace is the adoption and implementation of basic social, economic and political reforms. We look forward to the fifth round of talks that will be held on May 26 to June 2 in the Netherlands.

  

PEACE-loving Filipinos welcome another successful round of formal peace negotiations between the government and the communists, specifically the agreements on free land distribution, interim joint ceasefire, and release of political prisoners.

The fourth round of talks concluded on a positive note. Free land distribution is a breakthrough, a just and necessary step to address the long-standing problems of landlessness and agrarian unrest. Free land distribution is key to dismantling the so-called land monopoly or the concentration of thousands of hectares of land in the hands of very few landlord families. But to complement land distribution, rural industrialization is needed. It includes the provision of irrigation systems, post-harvest facilities, and farm-to-market roads among others.

On the other hand, while the signing of the Agreement on an Interim Joint Ceasefire offers much relief, there is wisdom in securing the approval of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms ahead of any bilateral ceasefire agreement. Or can both agreements be signed simultaneously?

Certainly, the peace talks are about addressing the roots of armed conflict by bringing fundamental socio-economic reforms, and not merely surrendering of arms without seeking answers to long-standing problems.

Both sides also agreed to release prisoners. The government recommended the conditional pardon of 23, exploring all means necessary to do so. Also, both parties also agreed to undertake measures to immediately and safely release four New People’s Army captives.  It is wise to go back to the commitment and obligation to free all political prisoners, as stipulated in the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.

Yes, more than ever, the public should support the talks. The most important and decisive in realizing a just and lasting peace is the adoption and implementation of basic social, economic and political reforms. We look forward to the fifth round of talks that will be held on May 26 to June 2 in the Netherlands.

 

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