LGBTQIA organization Bahaghari welcomed the announcement of the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) of the signing of Oslo Communique, signaling the desire of both parties to resume formal peace negotiations. The communique, signed on 23 November, comes six years after former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued a proclamation terminating the peace talks.
“Recognizing the political, economic, and social roots of armed conflict is a welcome first half-step towards the long-term goal of attaining just and lasting peace in the Philippines—one that will immensely benefit the LGBTQ+ community and the Filipino people,” stated Reyna Valmores, Bahaghari’s chairperson.
In a press conference, Julieta de Lima, interim chairperson of the NDF negotiating panel, raised serious concerns as key issues to be tackled in the talks – i.e. the abrogation of the terrorist designation of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its armed wing New People’s Army (NPA) and the NDF itself, as well as the release and safety of detained peace consultants, among others.
The alliance expressed full support for the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), a landmark program that will solve the long-standing issues of poverty, landlessness, underdevelopment, human rights violations, and more.
“The only way to achieve just and lasting peace is by achieving the Filipino people’s national democratic aspirations articulated in CASER. That means land must be granted to our landless farmers through genuine agrarian reform, workers must be granted family living wages and positive working conditions, and the Philippines must pursue a program of national industrialization with the vision of standing on its own two feet, without the interference and control of imperialist countries, among other reforms,” said Valmores.
For Valmores, the LGBTQIA community is “especially optimistic, as part of the CASER is the development of a pro-people culture which would entail the creation of anti-discrimination laws as part of the law of the land in order to protect all Filipinos against gender-based violence and exploitation.”