Social-economic accord to lay down sovereign economy: Peace pact to serve as “bridge” for Duterte in crossing the Rubicon with US, says NDF

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Utrecht – The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) should strike a peace deal on social and economic reforms (SER) with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) that would serve as a “bridge” for President Rodrigo Duterte in crossing the Rubicon with the United States.

The statement was issued by the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms (RWC-SER) after reports quoted Duterte in saying that the Philippines may need Russia’s help if the country distances itself from the United States.

“I’ve been talking with Prime Minister Medvedev. One-on-one kami. Walang nakalaam noon. I said, ‘I think I am about to cross the Rubicon between me and the US, at least for the 6 years. I would need your help and everything – trade, commerce. I will open up,’” he said.

“Aside from laying down the foundation for a just and lasting peace, crafting an agreement on social and economic reforms would serve as a bridge for President Duterte in crossing the Rubicon with the United States while establishing equal foreign relations with China and Russia,” says Julie de Lima, chairperson of the NDFP RWC-SER.

“Crossing the Rubicon cannot be simply done through burning bridges from one monopoly capitalist to another,” de Lima said adding, “it requires a combination of strong assertion of political and economic sovereignty coupled with people’s participation.”

“A democratic and sovereign Philippine economy that benefits the majority of Filipinos will end the country’s exploitation by ravenous foreign monopoly capitalists like the US,” she said.

The NDFP describes the second substantive agenda on social and economic reforms as the “meat” of the peace negotiations with genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization as the “key factors” in addressing the roots of the armed conflict.

“An economy founded on genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization will lead the country away from the weak speculative and portfolio investment-based economy prone to political blackmail,” de Lima said referring to reports blaming Duterte for the seven-year low of the plunging of the peso and for alienating the Philippines’ trading partners like the US and European Union.

Last week, the NDFP exchanged with the GRP a proposed “framework and outline” for the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, the second substantive agenda to be tackled in the next round of peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway on October 6-10.

The exchange of “framework and outline” was agreed upon during the meeting of the Reciprocal Working Committees on Social and Economic Reforms (RWC-SER) of both Parties last August 24. The substantive agenda on social and economic reforms is next to be negotiated by the two parties according to the framework agreement set by The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992.

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