Gov’t, NDFP agree on draft of social, economic reforms
OSLO – After a delay in the discussions, both the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines finally reached an agreement in crafting a common draft framework and outline for the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER).
The parties decided to take a break just after a half day of discussion on Friday following a disagreement on the outline of CASER
Julie De Lima, chairperson of the NDFP-Reciprocal Working Committee-SER, earlier said that the outline “should be based on addressing the roots of the armed conflict while the GRP wants an outcomes-based outline.”
“We have exchanged with the GRP an outline of a comprehensive drafte on social and economic reforms that includes agrarian reform, national industrialization, environmental protection, rights of the working people, foreign economic and trade relations, and, monetary and fiscal policies,” De Lima said.
The government prepared a 9-point outcome and proposed that it be included in the Part 1 or Declaration of Principles of the agreement.
After a series of discussions and back channelling following the break, both parties were able to make concessions and craft the common draft.
Instead of including it on Part 1, the points prepared by the government were accommodated as Part 3 or Desired Outcomes.
“The Parties forge this comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms with the overall objective of eradicating Philippine poverty and reducing inequality in all their aspects and dimensions to have productive, decent and dignified lives,” the common draft said.
The “desired outcomes” include:
- Rural equality and development to achieve food self-sufficiency and security
- A sovereign, self-reliant and industrialized national economy
- Protected and rehabilitated environment, just compensation for affected populations and sustainable development
- Social, economic and cultural rights of the working people upheld and discrimination eliminated
- Sustainable living incomes for all
- Affordable, accessible and quality social services and utilities
- Sovereign foreign economic policies and trade relations supporting rural development and national industrialization
- Monetary and fiscal policy regime for national development
The entire common draft CASER framework and outline has 15 parts including the Declaration of Principles; Bases, Scope and Applicability; and the Desired Outcomes.
It was followed by the Parts on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development; National Industrialization and Economic Development; Environmental Protection, Rehabilitation and Compensation; Rights of the Working People and Livelihoods; Sustainable Living Income; Gender Equality and Representation; Improved Human Resource Capacities and Choices; Social Services; Foreign Economic and Trade Relations; and Monetary and Fiscal Policies.
Considered by the NDF as the “meat of the process” and by the government as the “heart and soul of the talks,” CASER is expected to address the root causes of the conflict and to improve significantly the quality of life of the Filipino people./rga