A step closer to peace
The negotiating panels of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) have achieved a major breakthrough in forging an agreement for an interim joint ceasefire. While the agreement on the ceasefire does not represent the meat of the talks, the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels nevertheless hurdled one major thorny issue that has been delaying the peace talks and has been fueling animosity from both sides.
Now, the peace talks could focus on one of the most important substantive agenda: social and economic reforms, which would address the roots of the armed conflict. Another thing worth noting is that both sides appear to be optimistic about forging a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) by the end of the year. This is unprecedented.