The public forum aims to provide updates on the ongoing Peace Talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Why are there peace talks happening in the Philippines?
A civil war has been happening in the Philippines since 1969, the longest communist insurgency in Asia. Historical and systemic injustice and oppression experienced by the majority of the Filipino people have driven many Filipinos to seek fundamental societal changes through armed struggle. That civil war continues throughout the country today.
The peace talks thus far
The first round of talks between the GRP and NDFP were successfully concluded in August 2016 wherein a six-point agreement was signed in Oslo, Norway. During the second round of talks in October also in Oslo, the GRP and NDFP were able to reach common drafts for the framework and outlines of the substantive agenda on socio-economic, political and constitutional reforms, and the end of hostilities and disposition of forces. A draft amnesty proclamation was said to be submitted to the Office of the President covering the release of 434 political prisoners, which would bring about a bilateral ceasefire agreement between the GRP and NDFP.
At present, both parties have indefinite unilateral ceasefires in place. To date, the amnesty granting the unconditional release of all political prisoners still remain to be seen.
The third round of talks are scheduled on 19-25 January 2017 in Rome Italy where the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), which would address the roots of the armed conflict and would be the main framework for a just and lasting peace, would be tabled, amongst other agenda.
Filipino migrants engagement
During the opening ceremony of the first round of peace talks in Oslo, a delegation from Filipino migrants in different parts of Europe was able to present a document containing their migrants agenda — issues and demands dear to the hearts of Filipino migrants. Filipino migrants now number more than 10 million scattered in different parts of the world and their remittances have played a big role in keeping the Philippine economy afloat.