15 December 2016
Reference: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817) and Rep. France Castro (0920-969-8457)
ACT Teachers Party-List Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro lauded the willingness of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to sign a bilateral ceasefire deal.
Over the weekend, Luis Jalandoni of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines expressed the willingness of the NDFP to sign with the GRP a bilateral ceasefire effective upon the release of political prisoners within 48 hours after the signing, as declared by President Duterte.
“Forcing a ceasefire deal before concrete commitments are fulfilled amounts to capitulation by the NDFP,” the solons said, pointing out that solid commitments such as releasing political prisoners prove the willingness to honor existing and future agreements. “Our fellow Filipinos take up arms against the government not because they want to, but because there are long-standing issues such as widespread poverty and inequality in the country which government refuses to address.”
“This bilateral ceasefire deal between the NDFP and the GRP will hasten the talks for a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER). Reforms under CASER will tackle proposals that will address poverty, hunger, jobless growth, labor export, rural deprivation, homelessness, wealth disparity, and environmental deterioration,” Tinio said. “The resolution of these issues is what we in the education sector have also been struggling for.”
“In line with our fight for free education, health, and other social services as well as salary increases and benefits for teachers and other government employees and lower income taxes, we teachers urge the parties to propose and bind themselves to a pro-people CASER,” Castro said.
“The openness of both parties to sign a bilateral ceasefire shows the public the sincerity of both parties in the peace talks. We expect the GRP to fulfill its promise to release political prisoners within 48 hours from signing the ceasefire and to genuinely stop military operations like the Oplan Bayanihan,” Tinio added.
The solons have earlier called for the immediate release of more than 400 political prisoners, including Lumad teachers Amelia Pond and Dominciano Muya of Davao, volunteer teacher Rhea Pareja of Quezon, and Rene Boy Abiva, an organizer of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT)-Cagayan Valley chapter.
The third round of the peace talks will be held in January in Europe in the next year. ###