NUSP welcomes success of 4th round of GRP-NDFP peace talks, backs call for free land distribution
The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) lauds the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) for another successful round of formal peace negotiations. NUSP welcomes the agreements of both parties on free land distribution, interim joint ceasefire, and release of prisoners.
“The fourth round of GRP-NDFP peace talks concludes on a positive note with more agreements on free land distribution to support agrarian reform and rural development. We welcome this breakthrough as a just and necessary step to address the long-standing problems of landlessness and agrarian unrest, and to rectify the social injustices long suffered by peasants,” said NUSP National Spokesperson Mark Vincent Lim.
“Free land distribution is key to dismantling the so-called land monopoly or the concentration of thousands of hectares of land in the hands of very few landlord families. To complement land distribution, rural industrialization is needed. It includes the provision of irrigation systems, post-harvest facilities, and farm-to-market roads among others,” Lim explained.
CASER before ceasefire
“While we welcome the signing of both parties of the Agreement on an Interim Joint Ceasefire, we reiterate the wisdom of securing the approval of Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) ahead of any bilateral ceasefire agreement, unless both agreements can be signed simultaneously,” said Lim.
“The peace talks are about addressing the roots of armed conflict by bringing fundamental socio-economic reforms, and not merely surrendering of arms without seeking answers to long-standing problems,” added Lim.
Expedite release of prisoners
The parties also agreed to release prisoners. The GRP recommended the conditional pardon of 23 NDFP-listed prisoners, including three (3) consultants, exploring all means necessary to do so. Also, both parties also agreed to undertake measures to immediately and safely release the four (4) remaining New People’s Army (NPA) captives. Those held in SOCSKSARGEN are to be released before Easter (April 15) and those in Bukidnon and CARAGA after Easter.
“We reiterate our demand that the GRP comply to its commitment and obligation to free all political prisoners, as was stipulated by both parties under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG),” said Lim.
Support peace talks
“We call on the Filipino youth and the general public to support the peace talks and rally behind the cause of genuine agrarian reform, starting with free land distribution. Genuine agrarian reform will lay the foundation for national industries to develop economy and change the rotten system. Moreover it is in the youth’s interest to support the peace talks because included in CASER is the provision of free education for all at all levels, which will more likely be tackled in the following rounds of talks,” said Lim.
“The most important and decisive in realizing a just and lasting peace is the adoption and implementation of basic social, economic, and political reforms that are needed and demanded by the Filipino people. We look forward to the fifth round of talks that will be held on May 26 to June 2 in the Netherlands,” concluded Lim.