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- Published: Thursday, 09 February 2017 04:11
DIALOGUE WITH PRESIDENT DUTERTE, PHILIPPINES - FR BEN ALFORQUE MSC
February 6, 2017
Fr. Ben Alforque (Convenor, Kapayapaan)
Kapayapaan urges President Duterte to continue peace talks with NDFP
A peace advocacy group is appealing to President Rodrigo Duterte to change his mind about terminating the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
The Kapayapaan Campaign for a Just Peace (Kapayapaan) said a termination or even suspension of the talks would reverse the “positive and substantial” gains achieved by three rounds of talks between the government and the revolutionary movement.
Kapayapaan was formed in early 2015 as a campaign network pushing for the resumption of the peace talks under then Pres. Benigno Aquino III. Among its original members were then Davao City Mayor Duterte and party list rep. Silvestre Bello III, now chairperson of the government’s peace panel.
“The way we see it, the talks are progressing at an unprecedented rate. It would be tragic for the President to stop the talks at this point. It is unfortunate that both sides have lifted their unilateral ceasefire declarations but the talks can and should continue,” said Kapayapaan Convenor Fr. Ben Alforque.
He said that in the 3rd round of talks last month, the GRP and NDFP panels signed a supplemental agreement on human rights and international humanitarian law while their reciprocal working committees have agreed on several provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER). On top of that, drafts were exchanged on the agreement on political and constitutional reforms while talks for a bilateral ceasefire are scheduled later this month.
“Pres. Duterte does not have to look far to find a compelling reason to continue the talks. Peace is the only and most compelling reason for the talks. We ask the President to stay the course. Please listen to the cry of the poor and the nation. It is in their behalf that peace negotiations should continue,” said Alforque.#