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Religious groups support GPH's CASER draft framework for submission to NDF

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Various religious groups across the country have expressed their full support to the government’s draft framework on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) it will submit to the communist National Democratic Front (NDF) during the peace talks set in Norway next month.

Ednar Dayanghirang, a member of the government peace panel negotiating with the NDF, made the disclosure on Sunday following a dialogue she had with bishops, priests, pastors and nuns during the Ecumenical Bishops Forum of Northern Luzon held in Baguio City over the week.

Dayanghirang explained to the religious sector the framework and principles of CASER, one of three key agreements remaining on the agenda of both the government and the NDF. The other two are the Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms (CAPCR), and the draft treaty on end of hostilities and disposition of forces (EoH/DoF).

In spite of the delay in the resumption of peace talks with the NDF, the government has continued to engage in dialogues with various sectors nationwide, particularly the draft on CASER to manifest the sincere determination of the Aquino government to forge a genuine and lasting peace agreement with communist rebels.

The New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the NDF, has been waging an insurgency in the country for over 40 years already.

The government and the NDF will discuss in Oslo, Norway the six pillars of the government’s socio-economic framework, particularly asset reform and improvement of the human resource base (agrarian, fishery and urban land reform) and agricultural development; and private sector-led industrialization that seek to generate livelihood, full employment and quality jobs.

During the Baguio dialogue, Dayanghirang gave the religious leaders a background on the 24-year history of the government and NDF negotiations as well as updates and clarifications on the recent challenges being faced by the peace panels, including the issue on the release of 13 alleged NDF consultants detained by the government.

In the same forum, a bishop raised the need for a no pre-condition policy on the talks in order to reach a final peace agreement, while others expressed their continuing support for the peace process, especially on the upcoming CASER bilateral talks.

Dayanghirang maintained that the government panel will go to Norway for the resumption of negotiations without pre-conditions.

Norway, the third country facilitator through its envoy to the Philippines Ture Lundh, has been instrumental in the resumption of talks between the two parties after the negotiatons hit a snag in June this year. (Ben Cal-PNA)




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