Amid growing tensions in West Philippine Sea, national unity through GRP-NDFP peace negotiations is a must – fisherfolk group

Amid growing tensions in West Philippine Sea, national unity through GRP-NDFP

Members of the GRP and NDFP negotiationg panel held a preliminary talks in Oslo, Norway | Photo courtesy of Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao

peace negotiations is a must – fisherfolk group

Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) urged the Duterte Administration to pursue the peace negotiations with the communist led-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in the name of people’s unity and national interest.

This is at the height of growing tensions with China regarding the disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea, which the former had posed its irrational claim. Although the International Tribunal ruled in favor to the Philippines’ claim on the disputed waters, China has been keen on its position not to comply on the said ruling as it maintains its claim that South China Sea is an indisputable sovereignty under their 9-dash line assumption.

In these trying times, a national unity through peace talks between the GRP and the revolutionary movement is crucial. No amount of diplomatic talks can resolve this long running sea row unless us as a nation will unite and collectively uphold our national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson said in a statement.

The fisherfolk group still expressed optimism that despite President Duterte’s lifting of GRP’s unilateral ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed-wing New People’s Army (NPA); this won’t affect the peace negotiations between the two parties that will formally begin on August 20.

It’s first things first; we must first resolve the long running civil war in our country by addressing its root cause which is injustice and poverty. Then we can focus and proceed in engaging on a diplomatic and peaceful resolution in the external conflict we are in,” France, also a convener of the broad patriotic alliance Pilipinong Nagkakaisa Para sa Soberanya (P1NAS) said.

The fisherfolk group said among the substantive agenda of the peace talks is the NDFP’s Comprehensive Agreement on Socio Economic Reform (CASER) in which a number of issues on international relations would be discussed which are deemed helpful for adopting active, independent and peaceful foreign policies that will uphold our national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Meanwhile, Pamalakaya warned President Duterte to be extra vigilant on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and other hard-line militarists in his administration which can be a hindrance towards the resumption of peace talks.

These hard-liner military men have always wanted to sabotage the talks and prefer the fascism and total war approach in rooting out the cause of the armed conflict in our country,” France ended. ###

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