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Statement of Sen. Loren Legarda on the Postponement of the Resumption of the GRP-NDFP Peace Talks

June 14, 2018

“I support the decision of the Administration to conduct public consultations first before going back to the negotiating table to resume the peace talks.  It is important for the entire Filipino public to be informed not only of the status of the peace talks, but also of the fact that both sides only have one aim in mind:  to achieve lasting peace, end poverty and to pursue socio-economic programs that will benefit our people.

As a government official who has also maintained good working relations with the NDFP over the years, I have made my own consultations and, as Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, I know that the agenda being pushed for by the NDFP under their proposed Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) for one are already embodied in existing laws and programs of the government, i.e., on agrarian reform and rural development, industrialization and economic development , environmental protection, rehabilitation and compensation, rights of the working people, patriotic and pro-people culture.

The government is already implementing programs like irrigation subsidy for farmers, livelihood programs under TESDA and DOLE-TUPAD, DSWD-sustainable livelihood program, universal free tertiary education program, MSMEs promotion, promotion of renewable energy sources, disaster preparedness, medical and health assistance for indigent patients, protection of the rights of workers, IPs, women and children, among many others.

Of course, we are not saying that all these government programs are the panacea to our problems.  But what we have can already be our starting point; we are not starting from zero.  I am optimistic that the peace talks will push through, hopefully, sooner.  Let both sides work together to achieve the right environment conducive for the resumption of the peace talks, and I will help in any way I can.”