Legarda urges govt to resume talks with Reds

September 4, 2015

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Loren Legarda urged the government on Friday to resume peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

Her call came as the Senate deliberates the substitute bill for the Bangsamoro Basic Law authored by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. It also comes amid a spike in human rights violations allegedly committed by state forces against indigenous people in Mindanao, particularly those accused by the military of sympathizing with communist rebels.

“We need to pursue peace that is inclusive in order for it to be just and lasting. The government should initiate the resumption of peace negotiations with the NDFP for the sake of the millions of Filipinos who will benefit from a peaceful and progressive nation,” said Legarda.

Legarda, citing the Philippine Peace Center, said the government and NDF panels have not sat together for formal talks since February 2011.

Efforts to break the impasse through informal talks, including discussions for an NDFP proposal for a truce and alliance, also referred to as the “special track,” began in late 2011 but collapsed by February 2013.

“The Philippine government and the NDFP should resume peace talks to come up with an agreement that is agreeable to both parties and beneficial to the Filipino people. Our people have a huge stake in the peace negotiations, the success of which is a step towards a brighter future for generations to come,” she stressed.

“One may not necessarily agree with the NDFP’s alternative vision of Philippine society, but no one can doubt the integrity of their patriotism or the depth of their commitment to help bring about a more just and a more humane society,” Legarda said. “That is why we want the government and the NDFP to iron out their differences and address the root causes of the armed conflict.”

She said that the subject of the negotiations are concerns that affect all Filipinos such as poverty, lack of employment and livelihood opportunities, underemployment, lack of access to housing services, affordable health care, education and other social services, corruption, impunity in human rights violations, environmental degradation, among many others.

Source: InterAksyon