Dureza stresses importance of inclusivity in peace, dev’t projects

PASIG CITY, September 19, 2018 – Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza today emphasized the need for peace and development programs to benefit not just a few people but the entire community.

“It is very important that while implementing these projects, there is transparency and inclusivity, meaning we should not only touch those who know us personally, or those who support us politically,” he said.

Dureza made the statement at the signing today of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and selected Local Government Units (LGU) to formally launch the Community Peace Dividends Fund (CPDF) Program in this city.

The CPDF is a peace and development program of OPAPP that aims to develop, monitor, and implement conflict-sensitive and peace-promoting livelihood projects.

It is supported by the Spanish Government through the Agencia Española Cooperación Internacional para el Desarollo (AECID).

Dureza signed the MOU on behalf of OPAPP, with Tadian, Mountain Province Mayor Anthony Wooden, Leon B. Postigo, Zamboanga del Norte Mayor Hermogenes Cordova, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon Mayor Reynante Inocando, and Esperanza, Agusan del Sur Sangguniang Bayan Member Nathaniel Cabactulan.

H.E. Amaya Fuentes-Milani, Chargé d’Affaires, Ad interim and Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Spain to the Philippines, and AECID Coordinator General Juan Pita witnessed the signing of the MOU.

“Spain and AECID’s support to this initiative of the Government to implement livelihood projects that are conflict-sensitive and peace-promoting in fragile communities that have gone through conflict, or still suffering from issues of unpeace, is greatly appreciated” Secretary Dureza said.

“Hopefully, this (program) will provide a template, a model we can apply to other areas,” he added.

The program follows the following three contexts: (a) areas under peace agreement implementation or post-conflict situation where the whole bureaucracy of government is addressing the peace and development concerns in these areas; (b) conflict-affected areas where parallel development can be initiated while the peace negotiations are ongoing; and (c) in areas where indigenous peoples are predominant.

The selected areas are identified based on a set of criteria approved by the Project Steering Committee and validated by the Conflict and Vulnerability Index formulated by OPAPP.

The provincial government officials, the security sector, and civil society organizations chose the final municipalities and barangays during the provincial orientation and consultations conducted by the agency.

Fuentes-Milani expressed her optimism that the program “will benefit the communities and will bring together women and men, indigenous groups, elders and youth, to discuss about their priorities and facilitate the path towards a peaceful coexistence.“

“The Government of Spain values the partnership with OPAPP and will remain committed to supporting peace and development in the Philippines as our key priorities,” she said. ###


Cordillera Autonomy Bill among government’s top priorities

PASAY CITY, September 15, 2018 — Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza on Thursday reiterated the Duterte administration’s commitment to pursuing autonomy for the Cordillera Region.

“I think the next priority for this government is to install the Autonomous Region for the Cordillera,” Dureza said in his message at the celebration of the 32nd anniversary of “Sipat” or the Mount Data Peace Accord.

The Mount Data Peace Accord was the first culture-based peace agreement made in the history of the peace process in the Philippines. It was done on September 13, 1986 between the Philippine government under President Corazon Aquino and the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) led by Fr. Conrado Balweg.

Last Thursday’s celebration, dubbed “Am-Among Di Cordillera: A Convergence for Cordillera Autonomy,” was a collaboration among the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO), Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR), and Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) in observation of 2018 National Peace Consciousness Month. It featured a theatrical performance portraying the milestones achieved throughout the Cordillera peace process.

Dureza commended the local leaders of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) for working as one to attain autonomy.

“Iyong mga biyak-biyak dati, nagkaisa na lahat. And I saw convergence of your political leaders. We should not squander this opportunity,” he said.

(Those who were fragmented before are now united. And I saw convergence of your political leaders. We should not squander this opportunity).

“Hindi lang Bangsamoro ang dapat magkaroon ng autonomous region. The Constitution provides both for the Bangsamoro and the Cordillera,” he added.

(It’s not just the Bangsamoro that should have an autonomous region. The Constitution provides both for the Bangsamoro and the Cordillera).

For his part, PLLO Secretary Adelino Sitoy guaranteed his office’s support for the bills filed in Congress that seek to establish the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera (ARC).

“The PLLO will pledge to exert all efforts in lobbying for the inclusion of Cordillera Autonomy Bill in the President’s legislative agenda and common legislative agenda,” Sitoy said.

Four identical versions of the proposed measure are now pending before the Senate and the House of Representatives.

House Bill 5343, which was authored by Cordilleran legislators, is now set to undergo deliberations in the House Committee on Local Government.

Serving as the counterpart of the House legislation, three Senate Bills — tagged as SB 1678, SB 1923, and SB 1930 — were filed by Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, JV Ejercito, and Bam Aquino, respectively.

For his part, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, chair of the RDC-CAR, urged his constituents as well as other key stakeholders to rally for the passage of these proposed bills.

“Our fight for autonomy will surely enhance our Cordilleran identity, self-governance, and self-determination. This is the future of the Cordillera and our children’s children,” he said.

In his message of support, former President Fidel V. Ramos, who was present in the 1986 signing of the Mount Data Peace Accord, urged everyone to help the present administration to attain peace and justice, relating it to the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations.

“Let us help him (President Rodrigo Duterte) finish the transformation of the Philippines,” Ramos said.

The gathering was attended by Deputy Presidential Peace Adviser Undersecretary Nabil Tan and other officials from OPAPP as well as representatives from PCOO, PLLO, RDC, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA-CAR), Philippine Information Agency (PIA-CAR), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Also present during the activity were provincial governors, vice governors and local chief executive of CAR, Fr. Conrado Balweg’s children, authors and contributors of NEDA-CAR’s book titled “A Victory Postponed,” surviving witnesses of the 1986 Mt. Data Peace Accord, and those present during the signing of Executive Order 220 which paved way for the creation of CAR. ###

By | September 14th, 2018|CBA-CPLA, News|0 Comments

Dureza urges Cordillerans to ‘make noise’ for autonomy

MANILA CITY, August 11, 2018 – Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza  urged the people of the Cordilleras to “continue to make noise” in order to get the attention they need for the creation of the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera (ARC).

Speaking at a forum here yesterday, August 10, 2018, with members of the Senate as well as leaders of the Cordilleras, Dureza said the recent passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) can help accelerate the fulfillment of the aspirations of the Cordillerans.

“Let your presence be known and I am sure you will not be ignored because it is your right under the Constitution to have your own Autonomous Region of the Cordillera,” he said.

The forum was organized to drumbeat national awareness and fast-track the passage of House Bill 5343 and Senate Bill 1678 which seek to establish the ARC.

Speaking to the group, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said the people of the Cordilleras should “anticipate that the bill will be passed.”

“Let us really work on this and in the meantime, let’s conduct a political action at ihanda na natin yung (and let us get ready with the) support mechanism on the ground,” he said.


For his part, Senator JV Ejercito gave assurance that the Senate supports the passage of the law giving autonomy to the Cordilleras.

“Rest assured that our support in the Senate is with the Cordillerans on the passage of its autonomy,” he said.

In a video message played during the forum, Senate Committee on Local Government Chair Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said since the ARC is constitutional, “we will therefore fully support it.”

Initiated by the six Cordillera representatives, House Bill 5343 or the Organic Act establishing the ARC was brought to the House Committee on Local Government in March last year.

A counterpart of this bill, Senate Bill 1678, was authored by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri in February 2018, while the related Senate Bill 1923 authored by Senator Ejercito was submitted recently.

Dubbed as the “Cordillera Autonomy Leaders’ Forum with the Senators,” the gathering informed the Senators of the unity of the Cordilleran people in their quest for self-determination as well as the pressing need for autonomy in the region.

The forum was organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG), and the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) in coordination with the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-CAR). ###





By | August 11th, 2018|CBA-CPLA, News|0 Comments

BOL passage seen to pave way for Cordillera autonomy

SAN FERNANDO, La Union, August 1, 2018 — The leadership of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is hopeful that the successful passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) will pave the way for the region’s own autonomy as provided for by the 1987 Constitution.

“Learning from the past failures, we want to achieve our autonomy by seeing to it that it is an improvement of our present situation,” Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) Chair and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said.

Domogan made the comments at the “Social Preparation of CAR into an Autonomous Region (SPCAR) Program Partners’ Workshop” where CAR officials reported on the status of the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera (ARC) roadmap and communications plan to around 70 participants hailing from various government agencies, media outlets, academe, and civil society organizations.

The workshop also gave participants an in-depth look on federalism and the regions’ fiscal powers under it.

House Bill 5343 and Senate Bill 1678 seek to establish the ARC, recognizing that the region is now stable and will continue to be sustainable.

Domogan said currently, CAR provinces are autonomous from each other, “with Congressional districts represented by elected officials and local government administrators exercising powers under existing laws.”

Each CAR province also receives a share from the national government’s Internal Revenue Allotments (IRA).

Domogan said what the CAR provinces want is a regional government “that has a legal personality with no diminution of our present powers and benefits that will assume certain powers, functions, and duties of the national government.”

He said this will enable the region “to formulate its own policies for development using its own resources with additional allocations and share from national taxes from the national government.”

“We will continue to exercise the powers that were granted to us and continue to receive benefits even if we will become autonomous in status,” he added.

The three-day workshop also honed the resource speakers who will be added to the region’s roster of champions for ARC.

The participants also crafted information, education, and communication (IEC) proposals and communications plans for their respective areas of influence.

The event was organized by the RDC-CAR and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-CAR), in partnership with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO), and the Presidential Communications Operations Office. ###

By | August 1st, 2018|CBA-CPLA, Indigenous Peoples, MILF, MNLF, News|0 Comments

Dureza talks peace with Filipinos in New York

MANILA, April 27, 2018 – Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza showcased the inclusive approach of the government in peacebuilding during a briefing with the Filipino community at the Philippine Consulate in New York City yesterday.

Fresh from his speaking engagements during the high-level meeting on peace and sustaining peace at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, Secretary Dureza met with the group to underscore the importance of incorporating the public in the peace process.

“You have to address the bigger table. The bigger table is the public. Because even if I sign agreements with the smaller table (rebel groups), ‘pag hindi tinanggap ng publiko wala ding mangyayari (nothing will happen if the public does not accept it),” he said.

Citing the failure of the previous Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to be passed by Congress in 2016, Dureza said legislators vote for measures consistent with the sentiments of their constituents.

Aside from engaging the general public, the peace adviser also emphasized the need to continue the dialogue with rebel groups that already have peace agreements with the government.

Mayroon pa tayong mga nagrebelde sa gobyerno na tumalima na ngayon (There are a number of rebels who have now come back to the folds of the law). We cannot just leave them alone,” he said.

The government is currently working on the completion of the peace process with the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade and the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army/Cordillera Bodong Administration.

Dureza said in all the efforts the government is undertaking, there is also the need to improve the lives of the people affected by conflict.

“Our work for peace is not only negotiations now. It is also a nexus with development. Kailangan nating ma-improve ang lives ng mga tao sa mga areas na yan. Buong bayan sana kung pwede (We need to improve the lives of the people in those areas. The whole country if possible),” he said.  ###

Cordi autonomy bill gains backing from public and private sectors

BAGUIO CITY, 20 April 2018 – The Cordillerans rallied their support for the creation of the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera (ARC) during the first public hearing initiated here yesterday by the House of Representatives.

“We strongly manifest our support on House Bill 5343 believing and recognizing that it is the most effective option to provide the region with sustainable development and to promote our cultural diversity,” Barangay Chairman Ferdinand Bucad said on behalf of the Liga ng mga Barangay Baguio City Chapter.

House Bill (HB) No. 5343 or “An Act Establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera” seeks genuine autonomy in the region in response to their clamor for self-determination.

Regional offices of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Health, and the Department of Interior and Local Government also voiced their “full and unconditional support” for the bill, describing it as the “realization of their long-cherished dream and aspiration to manage their own resources and to promote our cultural practices.”

Business and civil society organizations such as the Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Filipino Investors Society, and Igorota Foundation also expressed support for the bill.

In their opening remarks, Cordilleran Representatives Marquez Go, Allen Jesse Mangaoang,and Ronald Cosalan jointly committed their best efforts in prioritizing the approval of the bill by the Committee on Local Government before the end of the 17th Congress.

For his part, Baguio City Mayor and Regional Development Council Chair Mauricio Domogan said it is both “an individual and collective obligation to make the people understand our need for regional autonomy.”

“Let us all continue to unite and work with our lawmakers for the realization of our clamor,” he said.

The draft bill, now with 19 articles, aims to guarantee the region’s financial capability without the diminution of their existing benefits and powers.

Among its salient points are: the continued existence of line agencies in support of their regional offices; payment of business taxes in the Cordillera region instead of the National Capital Region (NCR); an 80%-20% share of agency fees between ARC and NCR; and the continuous collection of their internal revenue allotment.

By | April 20th, 2018|CBA-CPLA, News|0 Comments

Reintegration of former combatants highlights Cordi groups’ assembly

BANGUED, Abra – From arms to amity. The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) proposed the formation of the Peace and Development Forces (PDF) to former Cordilleran rebel groups as part of the peace agreement between the government and the Cordillera Bodong Administration-Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CBA-CPLA) on Wednesday morning.

During the “Galigad” or a ceremonial cessation of hostilities presented by the CBA-CPLA Balao-as faction, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza along with AFP-Peace Process Office Chief BGen. Raniel Ramiro suggested the process of decommissioning of firearms as an initial step to the eventual creation of the PDF towards the normalcy of former rebel groups in Cordillera.

Puwede yung mga baril ninyo hindi i-surrender at ipapa-inventory lang natin sa military kasi ang military ang custodian (ng firearms). Inventory muna, lista, and then i-deposito na muna. Pagkatapos, mag train kayo gaya ng mga army reservists. Pag tapos na kayong mag-training at qualified na kayo, puwede na kayong ipasok doon sa agency as reservists of the military,” Dureza suggested.

(Instead of surrendering your firearms, they should be part of the military’s inventory as they are the custodians for them. Inventory first, list them, then deposit them for the meantime. Afterwards, you may train like those enlisted as army reservists. Once you’ve completed it, you may join as reservists of the military)

The event, in partnership with the Regional Development Council (RDC) and the National Economic and Development Authority – Cordillera Administrative Region (NEDA-CAR), also featured the information and education campaign on Cordillera Autonomy.

Marissa Cabato of NEDA-CAR said the campaign is still open for changes and interested individuals may submit contents to be included in the IECs subject to the evaluation and approval of RDC and NEDA-CAR.

On January 17, Senator Miguel Zubiri fulfilled a recent promise to the Cordillerans by filing Senate Bill 1678 or an Act Establishing the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera. Zubiri is among the senators supportive of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera.

According to Senate Bill 1678, the establishment of an Autonomous Region of Cordillera will give the Cordillerans “the opportunity to decide on what policies and programs will best fit the economic, social, and cultural development within the framework of the national sovereignty and in consonance with their local practices and cultural heritage and identity.”

The bill also aims to address underdevelopment and poverty in the Cordilleras more effectively through regional autonomy.

Last year, leaders and representatives of various Cordillera rebel factions and other groups, namely the CPLA and CPLA-CBA, Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), Cordillera Broad Coalition (CBC), Cordillera Regional Consultative Commission (CRCC), and North Luzon Coalition for Good Governance (NLCGG), jointly called on all Cordillerans to unite and rally behind efforts to establish the constitutionally mandated Autonomous Region of the Cordillera.

Cordillera groups, together with the local chief executives and representatives of the six provinces of the Cordillera and the City of Baguio, have expressed support for the passage of House Bill 5343, “An act establishing the autonomous region of the Cordillera.” ###

Zubiri to author Cordillera autonomy bill

QUEZON CITY – Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri declared on Wednesday morning, that he will author a Senate bill for the establishment of the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera to support the Cordillerans’ aspiration for self-determination, and the pressing need for autonomy.

During the “Congressional Forum on Cordillera Autonomy and Federalism”, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza committed his best efforts to push for House Bill 5343 to be taken as a priority bill.

“I will continue to advocate Cordillera’s autonomy in the Palace and in the Senate. I would like to see this happen also, not in another time. A victory should not be postponed anymore. We like this to happen while we have an enabling environment,” the Peace Adviser assured.

Through a call from Dureza while the forum is ongoing, Zubiri immediately gave his positive response.

“I am honored to author the Autonomous Region for the Cordillera bill,” Zubiri stated.

Prior to the senator’s announcement, Cordillera leaders were seeking a champion from the lawmakers through the said forum. The event was the fruition of the pronounced commitment of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to support the Cordilleran Administrative Region’s advocacy for autonomy in July 2017 at the Malacanang Palace.

Furthermore, Dureza lauded the efforts of the region in garnering support not only of President Rodrigo Duterte’s and other key national leaders, but above all else, the public.

“The region’s advocacy is a big help for the bill. We need to raise it as often as we can publicly because we are now seeing positive indications and signs that the people would support it. You have succeeded in engaging the bigger table – the public, for your aspirations and your quest for self-determination,” Dureza expressed.

“I hope the same fire is still there among the Cordillerans and we hope that with the bigger number supporting it, and being aware of it, that our advocacy will further spread that big fire into a conflagration that everybody will have to come around and help put out that big fire. That is the dream of the Cordillerans and that is my dream as a Filipino citizen and as a son of the Cordillera,” Dureza added.

Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, in a united Cordillera stance, stated that, through peaceful means, the region never stopped pursuing its dream.

“We keep on telling to our people: Let us continue to make the difference as people of the Cordilleras in a way that we achieve our dreams in clamor for autonomy through peaceful means,” Domogan said.

Deputy Presidential Peace Adviser Nabil Tan, who is a former vice governor of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao, during the open forum, discussed similarities and differences between the ARMM and the Cordillera and shared learnings from their experiences in Mindanao.

He expressed his hopes to see Cordillera as an autonomous region before the government’s shift to Federalism and noted that the continued interaction between the two regions as a very good learning experience. ###

CAR adopts Dureza as “Son of Cordillera”

BAGUIO CITY – Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza was honored as the “adopted son of Cordillera” by the Regional Development Council (RDC) and tribal leaders of Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) during the Gong Relay event in Baguio City Hall as part of the celebration of 30th anniversary of the region.

The RDC commended the secretary for his unparalleled support for Cordilleran autonomy and unwavering efforts to provide peace and development in the country, calling him as “Mansapit”, a Kankanaey word that means peace-maker or savior.

Aside from the certificate of adoption, Sec. Dureza was also given tokens, such as a gangsa (Cordillera type of Gong), spear, shield and loincloth.

In his speech, Sec. Dureza reiterated the importance of consulting the bigger table, the people’s peace table, in order for the Cordillerans’ goal of achieving full autonomy be realized.

“Cordillera is not only composed of officials that represent you in the same manner that when I talk to the rebels on our negotiation, I openly refer to them as small table. The bigger table is the public, they are the stakeholders.”

The Secretary also announced that after President Duterte receive the draft of Bangsamoro Enabling Bill on Monday, he will meet with the Cordilleran groups to discuss the draft of the House Bill 5343 “An Act Establishing the Autonomous Region of Cordillera” on Tuesday so they can voice out their aspirations to the President.

“I talked to the President before I went here. I said “we’re moving decisively on the Bangsamoro. Let us not leave the Cordillerans behind,” the secretary said.

“I told him, (President) in the same that you certify the bill to pass the BBL for the Bangsamoro, then equally, we must see to it that we certify the bill to create the Cordillera Autonomous Region.”

The passing of the Unity Gong from one CAR province to another symbolizes their unity, and calls for support for full autonomy and cultural preservation.The Gong Relay event also featured the ceremonial beating of Gong by local government officials, and its turn over from Baguio to Benguet. ###

Cordillera officials discuss terms for peace with reds

Government negotiators tasked to secure peace with the National Democratic Front (NDF) motored to Baguio City today to hold a two-day consultation-workshop with government officials and community leaders of the Cordilleras on proposed social and economic reforms being discussed with communist guerrillas.
The consultation-workshop, being held at the Albergo Hotels, also seek to solicit inputs from the local officials and community leaders of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) regarding concerns on the proposed joint ceasefire agreement with communist rebels.
“This activity is part of the government panel’s nationwide consultations with relevant stakeholders to collect inputs, test the validity of its positioning and encourage buy-ins for the on-going peace negotiations,” explained former Agrarian Reform Sec. Hernani Braganza, the panel member supervising the discussions on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) and joint ceasefire agreement.
“We are your negotiators. What we want to discuss in the negotiating table with the NDF is your position on issues affecting your communities. Now is the time for the Cordillerans to speak up and voice out your concerns with regard to the peace negotiation,” Braganza added.
He explained that the outputs of the consultation-workshop, held under the auspices of the Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC), will be included as inputs to the fifth round of formal peace negotiation with the NDF scheduled in The Netherlands from May 27 to June 1, 2017.
The government and the NDF had previously conducted four rounds of formal peace negotiations under the term of President Rodrigo Duterte, achieving breakthroughs in CASER discussions, ceasefire agreement and implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHR-IHL).
For CASER, both panels had agreed to accelarate the discussion through formation of bilateral teams that meet regularly in Manila in between formal rounds of peace negotiation. The discussions intend to flesh out an agreement on free land distribution for a proposed agrarian reform program.
During the fourth round of peace talks, held in Noordwidjk Ann Zee in The Netherlands last March, both panels also agreed to craft a joint ceasefire agreement that will provide cessation of hostilities pending the signing of a final peace agreement. The terms of reference (TOR) of the joint ceasefire is now under discussion in Manila.
The third round of peace talks, held in Rome last January, produced an agreement providing supplementing guidelines for the operationalization of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) of the CARHR-IHL.
The CARHR-IHL was signed by the government and the NDF in 1998, but it was only under the term of President Duterte that it was made fully operational.
The agreement recognized the need to apply human rights principles when responding to the armed conflict. It obligated both parties to promote the respect of and adherence to international humanitarian law among its forces. It emphasized the urgency of protecting the civilian population.
Braganza noted that side from CASER and joint ceasefire, both panels will also discuss their respective positions on the proposed Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms (PCR) on the next round of talks in The Netherlands.
“At the moment, discussions were being conducted extensively on CASER since forging an agreement on social and economic reforms is acknowledged by parties to be central to reaching unity and peace,” he explained.
“We will also focus on the joint ceasefire since forging a bilateral ceasefire is considered to be of parallel importance to provide an enabling environment for reforms to take place,” he added.
Braganza said the consultation-workshop in Baguio City is the first under the RDC and RPOC mechanism, and will be replicated in other regions in between formal rounds of negotiations abroad.
“We will try to bring to the negotiating table as many voices as possible. The final peace agreement is not for government, but for the entire Filipino nation,” he pointed out.
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