BAGUIO CITY, May 19 (PIA) -- The Government Peace Panel held a two-day consultation workshop with officials and community leaders from the Cordillera region as part of the campaign of the Duterte Administration for lasting peace in the country.
Dubbed as the First Series of Regional Consultations on the Peace Talks between Government of the Philippines and Communist Party of the Philippines / New People’s Army / National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF): Consultative Workshop with the Regional Development Council (RDC) and Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) on the draft Agreements on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) and Ceasefire, it was conducted at the Hotel Albergo in Baguio City last May 15 – 16.
Government Peace Panel Member Hernani Braganza said the activity was 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 between the government and the communist group.
The consultation also aimed to solicit inputs from the local officials and community leaders of the Cordillera regarding concerns on the proposed joint ceasefire agreement with communist rebels.
Braganza explained that they have been looking for existing government mechanism where local and national government, national and regional government agencies, civil society organizations, including the church can participate in the process of peace building in this country through the RDC and RPOC in the different regions.
“We are your negotiators. What we want to discuss in the negotiating table with the NDF (National Democratic Front) 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,” he said.
He said that the consultations will also be conducted in other regions in the coming days.
Outputs of the consultation-workshop 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.
Braganza stressed “the Duterte Administration wants to end the armed conflict in country with negotiations, but we want to end the armed conflict with a more stable peace and a change in the country. “
In his welcome message, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, the Cordillera RDC and RPOC chairman, lauded the OPAPP for bringing the consultations to the Cordillera region whose people are known as peace keepers and advocates.
Domogan called on the members of the RDC and RPOC and other stakeholders to provide ideas that would be helpful to the government panel on the socio-economic reforms and the ceasefire particularly on the regional level. He also appealed to Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process to make sure that the activities of the government including the socio-economic reforms would benefit the rest of the Filipino citizenry and not only few rebels.
“It had been repeatedly said even in the RDC and RPOC that the activities of the government towards peace and development including the peace talks with the communists should not only benefit the CPP-NPA-NDF but also for the benefit of all the Filipinos including the law abiding citizens of the nation,” said Domogan. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)