Filipino Americans Welcome Peace Efforts of Incoming Duterte Administration

 
Photo Credit: Kodao Productions

Photo Credit: Kodao Productions

For Immediate Release
June 15, 2016
Contact: Terrence Valen, NAFCON President, president@nafconusa.org

Two weeks before his inauguration, Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte follows through with his campaign promise to continue the peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), which were stalled for four years under the Aquino administration.  A 3-day exploratory meeting is currently taking place in Oslo, Norway between the NDFP representatives and Duterte’s incoming peace advisers. The two parties are discussing draft documents on the release of  political prisoners, an interim ceasefire, and a plan to accelerate the peace negotiations that are anticipated to be signed as official agreements as early as next month after Duterte assumes office.  Filipino Americans fervently welcome and support these initiatives in tackling the Filipino people’s urgent issues.

Poverty, landlessness, and joblessness have long plagued the Philippines.  Yet the Philippine government has historically made no genuine effort to address the root causes of these issues.  It has merely instituted band-aid solutions such as the Labor Export Policy, which forces Filipinos to migrate and look for work abroad due to the lack of jobs and opportunities in their home country.  Without the political will to resist international trade agreements and policies benefiting only the multinational corporations that exploit the natural resources of the country, the Philippine government cannot enact real change.  Without nationalist and pro-people values informing the work of legislators and government officials, politicians will continue to treat government as a cash cow instead of a vehicle to provide services to the Filipino people.

Filipinos have unceasingly been forced to seek accountability from the Philippine government.  We saw this in Kidapawan last April, where thousands of farmers and indigenous Lumad starving from drought protested for the release of calamity relief only to be met by bullets by government forces.  The outpouring of support and donations of sacks of rice from Filipinos around the world, including celebrities like Robin Padilla, Nora Aunor, Monique Wilson, and Aiza Siguerra, highlight the strong collective spirit of the Filipino people on the one hand and the detestable lack of services they receive from their own government on the other.

It is in this context that Filipino Americans view the resumption of the peace talks — to truly address the causes of the Filipino people’s suffering.  NAFCON strongly supports and advocates for the resumption of peace talks and release of political prisoners as first steps in fulfilling the people’s clamor for a just and equitable Philippines.  We welcome Duterte’s actions to seriously follow through with his pronouncements, and we urge him to honor the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and other previously signed agreements with the NDFP, and to ultimately reach a comprehensive and detailed agreement with the NDFP that would resolve the root causes of societal ills in the Philippines.

NAFCON calls upon all peace-loving Filipinos, Filipino Americans, and allies to launch public forums on the people’s priorities for the next presidential administration and to engage in actions in support of genuine peace talks and the release of political prisoners as an act of goodwill.

To learn more about the peace talks, please email info@nafconusa.org.

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Further reference: http://kodao.org/2016/06/14/ndfp-and-duterte-peace-teams-begin-informal-meet/

 

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