MANILA, Oct. 1 -- Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, concurrent government chief negotiator on the talks with communist rebels, stressed on addressing the root causes of armed conflicts through socio-economic reforms in order to achieve permanent peace in the country.
In a forum on the peace talks between the Philippine Government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) organized by the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) on Monday, September 26, Bello identified extreme poverty, injustices, and corruption in government as underlying factors that bred insurgency and that these concerns must be immediately resolved.
“The signing of the agreements is not the peace itself nor the assurance of lasting peace. In order to achieve peace in our country, we should not be signing peace agreements alone but, we should be addressing the root causes of conflict,” Bello said.
Bello explained that the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) with the NDF seeks to address these concerns.
CASER—which according to Bello is the “heart and soul of the GRP-NDF peace process”—is one of the remaining substantive agenda on the talks, aside from the