Groups to hold press con, forum on GPH-NDF peace process

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 April) — Updates on the recently resumed peace process between the government and National Democratic Front will be presented in a press conference Tuesday organized by the Mindanao Movement for a Just and Lasting Peace “Sowing the Seeds of Peace” and the Exodus for Justice and Peace.

Representatives from both peace panels will be the ones to present the updates during the press conference at the Grand Men Seng Hotel here which will start at 9:30am.

The organizers said they will also hold a forum on the same day and in the same venue for peace advocates, the religious, academics, lawyers, professionals and business sector.

Local officials including Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, North Cotabato Governor Lala Taliño-Mendoza, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur Mayor Joel Ray Lopez and Magpet, North Cotabato Mayor Efren Piñol and Davao Del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario have reportedly confirmed their attendance.

During the meeting on February 15-21, in Oslo, Norway, both panels agreed on a three-year timeframe to produce substantive agreements, including one on social and economic reforms.

“The social and economic reforms agenda that we consider the core of any negotiated political settlement of the ongoing armed conflict should manifest people’s voices on issues of land reform and national industrialization,” Bishop Modesto Villasanta of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), one of the conveners said in a statement.

“The peace talks will continue in June to discuss on the socio-economic reform agenda, which both panels agreed on the February Joint Statement to sign a comprehensive agreement by September this year,” Bp. Villasanta said.

As a movement supporting the peace talks, the Sowing the Seeds of Peace launched various activities parallel to the weeklong peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway. It spearheaded succeeding gatherings to rally support behind the talks believing that the people stand to benefit most from a successful peace negotiation, the statement added. (MindaNews)