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PBBM makes good on his unity, peace promises

November 30, 2023 People's Tonight 150 views

Mario FetalinoTHE revival of peace talks between the government and communist rebels is a testimony to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s determination to fulfill his promise of unity and peace in the country.

In his inaugural address, Marcos assured the Filipino people he will pursue their dream and hopes for a peaceful nation and a safer, prosperous motherland.

And with the communist rebels supporting the genuine desire of the Marcos administration to end the conflict, the peace talks are seen to succeed.

Peace is a strong driver of economic growth that could bring better life for every Filipino – another promise in the making under the Marcos government.

The recent growth in the country’s gross domestic product or GDP shows the economy is on the right track.

Coupled with the government’s various programs – health, education, livelihood, etc. –to uplift the well-being of Filipinos, providing them with a better life could not be very far.

Yes, peace in the country is getting another chance.

After being dumped by the previous administration, talks to end the 50-year-old communist armed struggle are back. \The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) — the political-wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) – recently agreed to a principled and peaceful resolution to the armed conflict.m

Both parties recognized the need for national unity in the face of serious socioeconomic, environmental, and foreign security issues.

“Cognizant of the serious socio-economic and environmental issues, and the foreign security threats facing the country, the parties recognize the need to unite as a nation in order to urgently address these challenges and resolve the reasons for the armed conflict,” the parties said in a joint statement.

The four-paragraph statement was signed on Nov 23, 2023 in Oslo, Norway and was released by Malacanan through Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (PAPRU) Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. on Nov. 28 also this year.

“The parties agree to a principled and peaceful resolution of the armed conflict. Resolving the roots of the armed conflict and ending the armed struggle shall pave the way for the transformation of the CPP-NPA-NDFP,” the statement signed at the City Hall of Oslo, added.

Both sides agreed to engage in dialogues to come together on a peace and transformation framework that focuses on further addressing the socio-economic and political drivers of the armed conflict and finally ending the battle.

“The parties acknowledge the deep-rooted socio-economic and political grievances and agree to come up with a framework that sets the priorities for the peace negotiation with the aim of achieving the relevant socio-economic and political reforms towards a just and lasting peace. Such framework, that will set the parameters for the final peace agreement, shall be agreed upon by both parties,” the statement said.

“Consequently, we envision and look forward to a country where a united people can live in peace and prosperity,” it added.

The joint statement was signed by Secretary Antonio Ernesto F. Lagdameo Jr., Special Assistant to the President, who represented the government.

Luis G. Jalandoni, a member of the National Executive Council of the NDFP, signed for the communist group.

Signing as witnesses were Galvez, and Gen. (Ret) Emmanuel Bautista for the GRP, and Julieta de Lima, the interim chairperson of the negotiating panel of the NDFP, and Coni K. Ledesma, a member of the NDFP negotiating panel for the NDFP.

Also signing was Special Representative Kristina Lie Revheim on behalf of the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG).

Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide of the RNG graced the ceremony.

According to the Oslo Joint Communique, the joint statement is “a product of a series of informal discussions held in the Netherlands and Norway starting in 2022 between the emissaries of the government and NDFP with the facilitation of the RNG.

The parties recognized the initiative of former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff retired Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista which was welcomed by then NDFP Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Ma. Sison.

Galvez said both sides have affirmed their sincere desire to achieve national reconciliation and unity under the Marcos administration, agreeing to resolve and further address socioeconomic and political issues towards achieving peace.

Galvez said he echoes the President’s strong aspiration for peace and unity.

“We all want peace in our land. You and your children want a good chance of a better life, in a safer, more prosperous country. All that is within reach of a hard-working, warm, and giving race. Your dreams are mine. Your hopes are my hopes,” Marcos said during his inauguration.