AS the Senate deliberates on the proposed Bangsamoro basic law, Sen. Loren Legarda said the government should also resume peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front (NDF).
“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 NDF 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 government and the left are suspended. The two negotiating panels have not sat together for formal negotiations since February 2011.
Moreover, the formal talks to resume discussions on Social and Economic Reforms scheduled for June 2011 did not materialize. Subsequent efforts to break the impasse through informal talks between the two Parties and discuss an NDF proposal for truce and alliance (also referred to as the “special track”) began in late 2011, but, likewise, collapsed in February 2013.
“One may not necessarily agree with the NDF’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 NDF to iron out their differences and address the root causes of the armed conflict,” Legarda said.
The Senator noted that the subject of the negotiations are 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 government and the NDF 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.