ALONG WITH OUR COLLEAGUES, WE WELCOME THE RESUMPTION OF THE NDF-GPH PEACE TALKS

We, at PeaceBuilders Community, join our colleagues in expressing our support and appreciation to both the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in resuming the Peace Talks as communicated in the Oslo Joint Statement signed last 23 November 2023. Our perspective from the ground compels us to amplify the voices of the people with whom we’ve been working. We pray that both GRP and NDFP would focus on resolving the root of armed conflict — that is, the persisting landlessness of the farmers, widespread poverty, depressed wages of workers, and the lack of local, inclusive, industrial development. We are listening to the fresh perspective of the GRP and to the clarifying focus of the NDFP as they both approach the negotiating table. May the God of justice and peace sustain and bless this resumption of peace talks.

Secretary Antonio Lagdameo Jr. from the Philippine government and Luis Jalandoni from the communist New Democratic Front shake hands after signing their Joint Statement for Peace in Oslo, Norway, 23 November 2023. Credit: Mathias Rongved/Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Statement of Support for the Resumption of the GRP-NDFP Peace Negotiation

We, the undersigned, reiterate our steadfast support to the resumption of the formal peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The Oslo Joint Statement signed last November 2023, that aimed for a principled and peaceful resolution to the more than 50-years of armed conflict, is an important and critical milestone in the path towards building a just and lasting peace in the Philippines. Pursuing the GRP-NDFP peace process offers a valuable opportunity for nation-building, healing, and reconciliation needed by conflict-affected communities, particularly indigenous communities who continue to bear the brunt of this conflict, indeed, the entire nation.

We commend the various members of the government, the media, and other critical stakeholders, who persist in their support for the resumption of the peace talks, challenging the predominant narrative that only through military might can the armed conflict be resolved. We are encouraged by your leadership at a time when spaces for critical discussions on this conflict are riddled by divisive tactics and an atmosphere of distrust, fear, and uncertainty abounds. We recognize the reality that civil society organizations cannot do the work of peace alone. Addressing the root causes of the conflict requires multistakeholder collaboration and partnerships across levels of Philippine society. We need allies like you in our efforts to build peaceful communities that is grounded in the work of social justice.

As peacebuilders and peace advocates who have worked and accompanied communities in their struggle for peace and justice, we have seen the devastating impact of war and violence. We believe that the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations presents an alternative path, one where we can all contribute to building a shared future of a just, prosperous, and peaceful Philippines. Indeed, it is a golden opportunity for the two Parties to discuss, incorporate, and agree upon relevant socioeconomic and political reforms necessary to bring about and sustain a just and lasting peace in the country. However, we underscore the importance of an inclusive, participatory peace process, where the rights and needs of those most affected are considered and prioritized.

We call on the GRP and NDFP to stay the course and build on the gains of previous rounds of negotiations and pursue the most recent breakthrough reached in the Oslo Joint Statement to its desired conclusion. We call on all peace advocates and our people to support the two Parties in this endeavor, set aside political differences and place the pursuit of a just peace as the priority.  

Signed by:

  • Alliance of Tri-People for the Advancement of Human Rights (ALTARH)
  • Alternative Center for Health and Development, Inc. (ACHDI)
  • Alyansa ng mga Mamamayan para sa Karapatang Pantao (AMKP)
  • Antonio G. M. La Viña, Director | The Klima Center of Manila Observatory
  • Association of Political Officers of the Philippines (AsPO)
  • Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (BMFI)
  • Cesar Padilla, Singer/Songwriter | Himig-Piglas
  • Civil Society Organization Forum for Peace, Inc. (CSO-FP)
  • Dr. Mark Anthony Torres, Professor (Full) | Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology
  • Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefits (EcoWeb)
  • forumZFD
  • Fr. Edgar Bonette B. Clar, DCT, Director | Social Action Commission, Diocese of Tandag
  • Fr. Raymond Ambray, Director | Integral Ecology Ministry, Diocese of Tandag
  • Gaston P. Ortigaz Peace Institute (GZO)
  • Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
  • Jeremy Simons, PhD | Te Ngāpara Centre for Restorative Practice, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
  • Jordi Urgell, School for a Culture of Peace
  • Jun Aparece, MindaComm
  • Kalimudan sa Ranao Foundation, Inc.
  • Kapamagogopa, Inc. (KI)
  • Konsyensya Dabaw
  • Lumad Husay Mindanao (LHM)
  • Manuel P. Quibod, Dean-College of Law | Ateneo de Davao University
  • Maranaw People Development Center, Inc. (Maradeca)
  • Marc Batac, Civic Futures – Philippines
  • Media Educators of Mindanao (MEM)
  • Miguel Álvarez Gándara, SERAPAZ/México, Plataforma Latinoamericana de Paz, Mediation Support Network, Global Peacebuilders Net
  • Mindanao Histories and Studies Advocacy Group (MHS AG)
  • Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute Foundation, Inc. (MPI)
  • MindanawanOne Network
  • Pakigdait Alang sa Pag-amoma sa Kalinaw, Inc. (Pakigdait)
  • PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI)
  • Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP)
  • Pilgrims for Peace
  • Samal Island Muslim Communities Development Center, Inc. (SIMCDC)
  • Sulong Peace, Inc.
  • United Religions Initiative-Southeast Asia and the Pacific (URI-SEAPac)
  • United Youth for Peace and Development, Inc. (UNYPAD-Ranao)
  • Working Group on Enabling Cooperation (WGEC)

Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2024/01/19/along-with-our-colleagues-we-welcome-the-resumption-of-the-ndf-gph-peace-talks/

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