We stand together in asserting that peace is our right as a people and peacebuilding is responsibility of all.
The long standing war between the Government of the Philippines and the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front must end. Peace talks are an essential mechanism in achieving the political settlement of the protracted armed conflict. The peace negotiations help ensure the commitment of both parties on reduction of human rights and humanitarian violations.
We believe that the peace talks will lead to and should go hand in hand with the adoption of comprehensive social reforms and ending of hostilities. Peace talks present the opportunity for communities to live in peace.
With these in mind, Manindigan para sa Peace Talks, a civil society movement of peace advocates, NGOs and people’s organizations united as stakeholders in the peace process, call for the following:
Sincere Commitment to Peace Talks
Genuine engagement and sincere commitment are vital for peace talks to succeed. We challenge both parties to dispel people’s skepticism on the process and their sincerity. But beyond the parties, we also challenge the civil society and communities to stand up and claim their voice on the peace processes.
Full Implementation of CARHRIHL
Violations of human rights and humanitarian laws must be accounted for and justice is served. The full implementation of Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) already signed on March 16, 1998 by the GPH and NDF is crucial action for the process through the reactivation and mechanization of the Joint Monitoring Committee. It is vital to immediately address all complaints lodged at the JMC and to ensure that a mechanism of protection is in place for the victims and families.
Bilateral Ceasefire during Peace Talks
Observance of ceasefire during peace talks is a must. Observance of cease fire increases trust and confidence for both parties. More so, it gives communities space to experience and cultivate hope that just and lasting peace is possible in their communities. Military operations of both camps must stop during the bilateral ceasefire.
Transparency in the Peace Processes
We believe that this is not just a peace process between the GPH and the CPP-NPA-NDF but a process that involves the Filipino people who have the right to know the developments of the negotiations. Both parties should come out with transparent and participatory mechanism to encourage people’s participation.
People’s Voice on Substantial Reform Agenda
People should be engaged in the development and formulation of the agenda on social economic rights through the negotiations on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social Economic Reforms (CASER). Likewise, the discussion on constitutional and political reforms must include people’s position and perspectives. A mechanism to ensure their participation and direct involvement in putting forward their proposals should be provided.
Now is the moment to push both the GPH and the CPP-NPA-NDF to venture into peaceful paths and directions. Now is the time to take a stand and bridge the aspiration of people into real peace situations. Now is the opportune time to work for just and lasting peace in the country.