FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2017
Reference: Irma Shauf-Bajar, National Chairperson, firstname.lastname@example.org
GABRIELA Urges President Duterte to Continue the Peace Talks,
Hands Off the NDFP Consultants!
GABRIELA USA denounce President Rodrigo Duterte’s pledge to arrest National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants as they land in the Philippines from the Netherlands, the location for ongoing Peace Talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the NDFP. Duterte’s threat to arrest NDFP consultants and disregard of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) are a step back from the progress made during the four recently completed rounds of the Peace Talks. This, coupled with the GRP’s decision to end their participation in the fifth round and therefore temporarily halts the peace negotiations shows the unwillingness of Duterte and the GRP to move towards solutions for a just and lasting peace in the Philippines.
The fifth round of peace negotiations between the NDFP and the GRP were expected to continue with discussions regarding the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), a joint agreement that would address steps to solving underlying problems of the country such as poverty, landlessness, unemployment, social injustices, and armed conflict. The CASER emphasizes the social, economic, and cultural rights of women and children, and the subsequent discussions could have advanced the rights of the people. However, with the threat posed to NDFP consultants, it begs to question the sincerity of Duterte’s administration in advancing the people’s rights for justice.
In early April, the most recently completed fourth round of the peace talks was with regard to socio-economic reforms in the Philippines including the central issues of Agrarian Reform and rural development. The issue of land distribution has notable effects on women who are often doing back breaking work in fields next to menfolk and also doing the duties of the household. Many women are pushed from rural areas to urban centers to try their luck with exploitative work, often ending up with their families in shantytowns because of the lack of economic opportunities. The refusal of Duterte to continue peace talks signal his lack of concern in advancing the lives of both women and men who work and live in 75% rural provinces in the Philippines. GABRIELA USA recognizes that the peace talks can push central Filipino people’s issues forward and terminating these peace talks demonstrates a clear inconsistency with Duterte’s promises to “be a Filipino for Filipinos.”