Statement of Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights
Canada Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights and its allies condemn the cancellation of the fifth round of peace talks between the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDFP) by Duterte and his cabinet, originally scheduled for June 28 to 30 in Oslo, Norway. This is the third time that Duterte has cancelled these talks seeking to address almost 50 years of civil war in the Philippines. Furthermore, this cancellation represents a lack of will by the US-Duterte regime to consider socio-economic reforms that would improve the lives of all people in the Philippines.
The talks would have addressed the root causes of the armed conflict when the people in the Philippines have taken up arms to fight against poverty, landlessness, and human rights violations. The intern peace agreement, to be signed by the GRP and NDFP at these talks, would have included reforms to address agrarian reform and rural development, national industrialization and economic development, and an amnesty proclamation for almost 800 political prisoners. These measures would have undoubtedly benefited the millions of landless Filipinos who live and work on the land but still go hungry. These measures are also imperative to address the issue of forced migration, as millions of Filipino workers are forced to migrate abroad since there are no jobs at home.
The peace talks are believed to have been canceled due to Duterte’s consultations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), who are currently planning an “all-out offensive” until the end of 2018. The AFP are currently occupying hundreds of rural and indigenous communities, while destroying vital infrastructure in these communities and unleashing terror on citizens. Despite the GRP and NDFP having signed a coordinated unilateral ceasefire covering the period of the peace talks on June 8, the GRP have unilaterally decided to cancel this agreement in order to implement their nefarious agenda. The cancellation is even more alarming when the Philippine House of Representatives’ attempts to consolidate Duterte’s power, by railroading through tax reforms, changes to the constitution, and anti-terrorism legislation, are considered. Through these actions, it is clear that the US-Duterte regime prioritizes foreign interests, oligarchs, and warmongers over the interests of ordinary citizens.
In solidarity with the Filipino people, we, the undersigned organizations, call upon the Duterte’s government to: