Peace talks in Baguio

BAGUIO CITY – A seven-day session as to peace issues is slated on Jan. 18-25, 2017 in Rome, to be participated in by Filipinos including chief peace negotiator Atty. Silvestre Bello III.

Bello III, who was in the city for a speech on “the efforts of the Government of the Philippines (GPh) on the peace process and its implication” at the city hall Friday morning, said the talks in Rome is focused on socio-economic reforms (SER), genuine land reforms and foreign policies.

Bello III said the talks were previously scheduled to be done in Oslo, Norway but the minus zero degrees prevented it from pushing through. He also said more would have to be accommodated in the negotiating table for strengthened peace efforts.

After talks in Rome, there would be the proposed comprehensive agreement, political and socio-economic reform, Bello added.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement of political detainees’ release, including the sick, elderly and women, is an act to show sincere, and “a final and logical conclusion for peace, Bello said, as with the joint bilateral and permanent ceasefire.

Senior Adviser of the National Democratic Front (NDFP) Luis Jalandoni spoke on the root causes of the armed conflict and the perspective of peace talks between the NDFP and the GPh.

Included here are Indigenous Peoples’ rights trampled through land-grabbing, exploitation of natural resources, outright displacement, corporate plunder, militarization, harassment. Respect for ancestral domains, rights and territories of minorities is needed, Jalandoni said. He however rued the complex requirements in the Indigenous Peoples’ Right Act (IPRA).

Mayor Mauricio Domogan who welcomed the attendees laid the foundation for the peace forum when he said there should be a sharing of personal peace for others while being competitive with Asian neighbors, nurturing a culture of excellence and caring for humanity in general.

Invited to the forum were the local government units of the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba and Tublay; line government agencies, peoples’ organizations, the barangays, the academe, non-government organizations, health, transport, business, and church groups.

An open forum was conducted after the speeches, with Bello III, Jalandoni and Bangibang as panelists./Julie G. Fianza#


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