The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has expressed support to the continuation of the formal peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as a result of the back channel talks between the two panels.
“This is a welcome development. The agency fully supports the continuation of the peace talks. We laud both panels for exhibiting the commitment to achieve a just and lasting peace. Likewise, we recognize the unwavering determination of peoples’ organizations, farmers in particular, for their support to the peace talks. Our farmers stand to benefit the most from the peace negotiations,” Mariano said.
Mariano expressed hope that both panels will soon come up a with a declaration of a unilateral ceasefire. A total halt in the attacks against farmers should be among the urgent results of the announced resumption of the formal peace talks citing that nine (9) agrarian reform beneficiaries were among those killed during the brief termination of the peace talks, he added.
“The achievements of the six-month peace talks are solid foundations and compelling basis to further the discussions on agrarian reform, rural development, and national industrialization to harmonize the drafts of the GRP and NDFP on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER),” Mariano said.
“In the previous round of the formal talks, both panels recognized the social injustices prevailing in rural areas and the need for a genuine agrarian reform as an important prerequisite for national and agricultural industrialization. Both the GRP and NDFP also agreed to significantly resolve the problems besetting the rural Philippines and to effect free land distribution to help address the root causes of the armed conflict and widespread agrarian unrest in the country.”
“I am hopeful that both panels would work doubly hard on achieving pro-people policy reforms that include genuine land reform. Among our primary tasks at DAR is to address the inherent weaknesses of the government’s agrarian reform programs that have allowed the ownership and control of vast lands of in hands of a few.”
“Potential possible outcomes of the peace talks shall include policy programs on genuine agrarian reform covering all private and public lands regardless of tenurial agreements, private lands, alienable and disposable lands and commercial farms,” Secretary Mariano said. (DAR)