Senator Loren: Resume peace talks with National Democratic Front of the Philippines

As the Senate deliberates on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, Senator Loren Legarda on Friday urged government to resume peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). “We need to pursue peace that is inclusive in order for it to be just and lasting. The government should initiate the resumption of peace negotiations with the NDFP for the sake of the millions of Filipinos who will benefit from a peaceful and progressive nation,” Legarda said.

According to the Philippine Peace Center, the peace talks between the Philippine government and the NDFP are in a state of suspension. The two negotiating panels have not sat together for formal talks since February 2011.

Moreover, the formal talks to resume discussions on Social and Economic Reforms scheduled for June 2011 did not materialize.

Legarda said subsequent efforts to break the impasse through informal talks between the two parties and discuss an NDFP proposal for truce and alliance began in late 2011 but likewise collapsed in February 2013.

“One may not necessarily agree with the NDFP’s alternative vision of Philippine society, but no one can doubt the integrity of their patriotism or the depth of their commitment to help bring about a more just and a more humane society. That is why we want the government and the NDFP to iron out their differences and address the root causes of the armed conflict,” Legarda said.

She said the subject of the negotiations were concerns affecting Filipinos such as poverty, lack of employment and livelihood opportunities, underemployment, lack of access to housing services, affordable health care, education and other social services, corruption, impunity in human rights violations, environmental degradation, among many others.

“The Philippine Government and the NDFP should resume peace talks to come up with an agreement that is agreeable to both parties and beneficial to the Filipino people. Our people have a huge stake in the peace negotiations, the success of which is a step towards a brighter future for generations to come, “ Legarda said.