The National Democratic Front of the Philippines Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms (NDFP RWC-SER) sees environment secretary Gina Lopez’s openness to work with the New People’s Army (NPA) and the revolutionary movement as a ‘positive gesture towards implementing genuine social and economic development programs in mining areas.’
“The willingness of Secretary Lopez to coordinate and possibly work with the NPA could help address the plight of peasant and indigenous peoples communities affected by destructive large-scale foreign mining, especially in Mindanao,” said NDFP consultant and RWC-SER member Randall Echanis.
“The NDFP can act as a go-between Secretary Lopez and the NPA,” Echanis added.
NDFP consultant and RWC-SER member Alan Jazmines said the NDFP is willing to discuss with Secretary Lopez how she could actually work with the NPA in territories of the revolutionary movement.
“Her inputs and suggestions on how to protect, preserve and rehabilitate the environment for use in rural and national industrialization could also be considered in the next round of formal talks,” Jazmines said.
A major part of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) currently being negotiated by the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines concerns environmental protection, conservation and compensation.
“Environmental protection and conservation and the wise use of natural resources are necessary components of socio-economic development policies. The DENR could consider adopting such policies to ensure the conservation and rehabilitation of the environment for future generations.”
“Under the CASER, we want to craft a comprehensive and balanced national policy for the country’s natural resources to redress the pattern of neocolonial exchange of raw materials and manufactures which has resulted in the depletion and intensified extraction of the country’s natural resources,” Echanis said.
A bilateral team meeting on agrarian reform and rural development between the NDFP and GRP is scheduled on April 25 as part of the acceleration of the talks. ###
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