GPPAC Encourages Continued Peace Talks in the Philippines: “Peace talks are paramount for the sustainable future of the Philippines”
The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) has noted with concern that the talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and National Democratic Front (NDF) have again been postponed.
As a global network of member organisations working on peacebuilding and prevention, we know how conflicts rip apart the social, economic and cultural fabric of people. Our members have first-hand experience of tragedies in Syria, war in Colombia, widespread violence in Mexico and the fifty year guerilla war in the Philippines. We therefore call on the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and National Democratic Front to return to the negotiating table. The national peace process is still the best option to move forward the quest for just and lasting peace in the Philippines. We were very much encouraged by the announcement of a new round of negotiations that were planned to take place end of June in Norway. Unfortunately those have been postponed again.
We urge both the GRP and NDF to continue finding constructive ways to work together in order to renew official negotiations and find joint understandings of settling their differences at the table. To achieve this, creating a more positive enabling environment to further the process is essential. Negotiating parties must get over their differences through efficient and programmatic confidence building measures. Previously announced possible ceasefires by the respective parties and amnesty of NDF members are positive signals that need to be built upon.
We strongly support trust building initiatives between the parties to the conflict and encourage the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front to resume meaningful peace talks that put the welfare of the people their center. Those initiatives should create an enabling environment allowing all relevant actors, including women and youth, to participate in an unhindered manner including, among others, through the release of political prisoners, avoiding classifying or calling out other parties in a detrimental manner and the full commitment to and upholding of a ceasefire by both parties is needed.
In GPPAC's experience inclusive peace talks bring about more sustainable outcomes as they are then able to consider the needs of a broad population. The input and potential participation of a wider civilian component in the talks could therefore be considered. But the first, most important step, remains the resumption of the GRP-NDF peace process as peace talks are paramount for the sustainable future of the Philippines. And would like to reiterate the offer made by GPPAC and its global network to provide services and accompany this process in whatever way we can.