From the Philippine News Agency (May 23): Cordillera commits support to ongoing GRP-NDF peace talks
The Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) have committed support to the ongoing peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
In their joint statement, both councils chaired by Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan affirmed that one of the foundations for inclusive growth and sustainable development is the attainment of just and lasting peace which can be realized with the continuance of the peace negotiations, sustainable socio-economic reforms and, in the case here, recognizing the right of the Cordillerans to self-determination through an autonomous regional government.
The joint statement was a result of the first leg of the regional conferences led by Hernani Braganza and Roberto Ador who chairs the Committee of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) in consultations conducted by the GRP peace panel last week. The Cordillera leg was attended by local chief executives from the six provinces and two cities including the regional line agencies.
The historic conference was held upon the request of the government panel negotiating peace with the NDF as part of their nationwide consultation-workshops on proposed social and economic reforms being discussed with communist guerrillas.
The councils declared their commitment to support the call to end violence and to the attainment of a permanent ceasefire which will translate to rural development and the eradication of poverty.
Domogan underscored lasting peace is a catalyst for countryside development and violence is considered a major hindrance to the realization of lasting peace, especially in the rural areas, thus, the need for concerned sectors to sustain the gains of the peace talks that could eventually lead to the signing of a permanent ceasefire that guarantee the end to hostilities.
He pointed out there is a need for both parties to strike a balance between the prevailing issues on both camps and the overall clamor of the people for peace and development, citing that the recognition by the national government of the region’s renewed quest for regional autonomy is a giant step towards realizing lasting peace in the region.
Autonomy advocates believe that self-governance and self-determination will help the people in most parts of the region graduate as among the poorest provinces in the country.
The RDC-CAR had been pushing for the autonomy of the Cordillera, which was strengthened with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s desire to shift the country’s form of government to federalism.