By NDFP Media Group
October 5, 2016
MANILA – On the eve of the resumption of the second round of peace negotiations, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) expressed hopes that after 18 years, land reform and national industrialization will finally be discussed by both parties.
The NDFP said that social and economic reforms, described as the “meat of the peace process,” will be the focus of the second round of peace negotiations set to take place in Oslo, Norway from October 6-10, 2016.
Last month, the NDFP exchanged with the GRP a proposed “framework and outline” for the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), the second substantive item in the agenda of the peace negotiations according to the framework agreement set by The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992.
“After almost two decades and two major economic crises, the 1997 Asian regional crisis and the 2008 world financial crisis, the two panels have yet to discuss a key crisis-protection agreement,” says NDFP consultant and Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) vice-chairperson Alan Jazmines.
Jazmines said that the NDFP draft on social and economic reforms, which includes land reform and national industrialization as the “center of gravity” of the talks, has been prepared for discussion since 1998.
“Now, we have updated our CASER draft especially in light of the worsening economic crisis brought about by neoliberal policies. However, land reform and national industrialization is still the main content of our proposal because of these twin economic development strategies’ proven resilience to the crisis of globalization,” Jazmines said.
“Land reform and national industrialization are inseparable from one another,” Jazmines said adding, “the agriculture sector advances national industrialization, and national industrialization develops the agriculture and consequently uplifts the crisis-ridden economy of the country.”
NDFP consultant and RWC-SER member Randall Echanis reiterated that “the NDFP proposal on social and economic reforms is a product of consultations with revolutionary forces, grassroots organizations of the toiling masses of farmers and workers, professionals, and patriotic businessmen.”
“While we expect lively and contentious discussions on CASER, we also hope that both parties are strong-willed enough to overcome differences in order to solve the armed conflict at its roots,” Echanis said.
According to the NDFP proposal, the main CASER objectives are: a) carry out agrarian reform and national industrialization; b) advance the rights of exploited, oppressed, discriminated and disadvantaged sectors of society; c) uphold, protect, defend and promote economic sovereignty; and d) conserve the national patrimony and protect the environment.