Sunday, May 28, 2023

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    NDFP’s Proposal for Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER)

    by Juliet de Lima

    Chairperson, Reciprocal Working Committee on Social & Economic Reforms (RWC-SER) & Member National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel


    Friends, warm greetings from our overworked, overtasked and determined but not grim GO CASER team as we have named ourselves.


    We are the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms and divided into technical working groups (TWG). Under the guidance of the NDFP negotiating panel, we conduct consultations with the masses and the mass organizations, work the result of consultations into the draft, discuss with our Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) counterparts to reconcile the GRP & NDFP drafts and forge a common draft to submit to our respective panels for them to negotiate on what would be the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms to be signed by their respective principals.


    Here today, we shall examine the proposed social and economic reforms of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, its place in the mass movement, in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations to address the Filipino people´s aspirations for just and lasting peace.


    I agree with the organizers that the focus of this forum should be on strengthening the mass movement to achieve the reforms and on how the peace negotiations can be one of the means by which these reforms may be achieved. We expect that our discussions today will not just be an academic exercise but would lead to concrete actions to rally support for the Filipino people in their struggle for reforms.


    Conditions in the Philippines are developing fast, making events and campaigns to encourage and strengthen the people´s movement for reforms ever more urgent. The current administration has consistently demonstrated and proven its violations of, and total disregard for the people´s rights and demands on a very broad range of fundamental issues.  It is increasingly taking the path to fascist tyranny.  The extrajudicial killings and other gross human rights violations perpetrated by this regime in its so-called war on drugs as well as its war against progressive and revolutionary forces have far exceeded those by the 20-year regime of the deposed dictator Marcos. These are giving rise to a broad antifascist movement, which urgently needs international support.


    Let us proceed to the NDFP draft Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) as the most essential or fundamental reform document for addressing the root causes of the armed conflict in the Philippines and the Filipino people’s demands and aspirations for a just and lasting peace.


    The prospective CASER would be basically a policy document and thus has to be supplemented by annexes for implementing the policies through executive orders, amendments of existing legislations or new legislations; access to public funding and the pertinent social and economic councils/agencies for harmonizing bilateral cooperation as well as joint and separate responsibilities; and through the mobilization of the people and resources to realize the reforms. This way, the people can immediately avail of and enjoy the social and economic benefits due them and give impetus to their potential for propelling social and economic development in the country and assuring themselves of a prosperous future and a just and lasting peace.


    The GRP-NDFP negotiations on an agreement on social and economic reform started with the exchange of preliminary drafts in 1998 at the signing ceremony of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) on March 16, 1998.  The draft was subjected to a series of consultations with the public, starting with a 4-day national consultation involving various sectors of Philippine society and followed by sectoral consultations at the regional and provincial levels to ensure that all issues and concerns were covered. The NDFP RWC-SER reworked the draft to incorporate the results of the consultations and we continue to rework the draft according to further consultations under developing circumstances.


    The negotiations on CASER must go through several phases: the first one being the bilateral discussions on the exchanged drafts at the level of the RWCs-SER to forge a common draft for submission to the Negotiating Panels; the second being the negotiations to forge and initial the agreement at the level of the two panels; and the third being the submission of the agreement for signing by the principals. The RWC common draft may be submitted to the panel part by part so that negotiations at the level of the negotiating panels can already proceed while the RWCs are still working out the common draft on other parts. The fourth and final phase of the CASER negotiations would be the panel-level post-agreement discussions and further agreement on the setting up of implementing mechanism and bilateral monitoring agencies; as well as on implementation with detailed fulfillment or compliance schedule and finally the constitutionalization of the reforms and the bilateral agencies required by the implementation of the reforms.


    This way. we consciously avoid or we reject the DDR (Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration) framework –consistently proven as failure at resolving the roots of armed conflicts all over the world– that the GRP has been trying to impose on the NDFP under various pretexts, such as prolonged ceasefires supposedly as ´enabling environment´ for the peace negotiations, actually pacification through virtual surrender of arms or a silencing of the guns of the people´s army, while the dominant state forces continued with the US-instigated ´counterinsurgency´ plan under such names as Oplan Bantay Laya under Arroyo, Bayanihan under Aquino and now the dirty war called Kapayapaan.  DDR is nothing more than a framework to pacify the oppressed by the oppressors. We can discuss this further in the open forum.


    Now let us proceed with a powerpoint presentation of an overview of the NDFP draft CASER:



    Content of NDFP draft CASER


    Preamble of 11 paragraphs stating necessity and general objectives of reforms; objective and subjective factors, mechanisms for undertaking the reforms


    Part i: Declaration of principles of 13 sections on the general principles for entering


    Part ii: Bases, scope and applicability of 7 sections why, scope/coverage and means of implementing the reforms


    Part iii: Developing the national economy:


    Part iii – a: Agrarian reform and rural development with:

    5 paragraph Introduction

    Article i of 5 sections enumerating governing principles

    Article ii:  Definition of terms

    Article iii: Scope and coverage –  2 sections

    Article iv: Distribution and sale of land – 7 sections

    Article v: Compensation and land use – 4 sections

    Article vi: Marine & aquatic reforms – 6 sections

    Article vii: Protection of rights & welfare – 6 sections

    Article viii: Cooperatives, credit and support services – 9 sections

    Article ix: Prohibited acts and practices – 8 sections

    Article x: Rural industrialization – 9 sections

    Article xi: Other provisions – 3 sections

    Article xii: Implementation – 8 sections


    Part iii – b: National industrialization and economic development

    introduction – 6 paragraph

    Article i: General provisions for national industrialization -17 sections

    Article ii: Definition of terms

    Article iii: Break imperialist and comprador domination of the economy – 8 sections

    Article iv: Modes of ownership and participation of mass organizations -11 sections

    Article v:  Integrated regional and sectoral development – 7 sections

    Article vi: Developing filipino industrial science and technology – 9 sections

    Article vii: Financing national industrialization – 6 sections

    Article viii: Role of the NPA and progressive  and revolutionary mass organizations

    Article ix: Role of demobilized grp military personnel

    Article x: Related legislative and policy reforms – 2 sections


    Part iii – c: Environmental protection, rehabilitation and compensation

    Introduction – 7 paragraphs

    Article i: Principles of environmental protection and economic development

    Article ii: Defintion of terms

    Article iii: Measures for managing the environment and ensuring resiliency – 13                sections

    Article iv: End environmentally destructive practices – 9 sections

    Article v: Regulation of mining and marine wealth extraction – 6 sections

    Article vi: Ban on alienation of natural resources and patent control – 3 sections

    Article vii: On implementation and policy reforms


    Part iv – Upholding people rights

    Introduction – 2 paragraphs


    part iv – a: Rights of the working people

    6 paragraph Introduction

    Article i: Definition of terms

    Article ii: Rights of peasants, farm workers and fisherfolk  – 3 sections

    Article iii: Rights of workers and private and public sector employees  – 7 sections

    Article iv: Rights  working people of various professions and occupations, including semiworkers – 2 or 3 sections

    Article v: Rights of overseas workers – 7 sections

    Article vi: Womenś rights and gender equality – 13 sections

    Article vii: Rights of children – 6 sections

    Article viii: Rights of the elderly – 3 sections

    Article ix: Rights of persons with special needs/disability – 2 sections

    Article x: Right to adequate social services and public utilities – 2 sections

    Article xi: Right to education – 7 sections

    Article xii: Right to health – 7 sections

    Article xiii: Right to housing – 3 sections

    Article xiv: Right to water – 2 sections

    Article xv: Right to adequate, affordable & clean energy   4 sections

    Article xvi: Right to adequate, affordable and efficient mass transport system– 5 sections

    Article xvii: Right to reliable, efficient and affordable communications services – 3 sections

    Article xviii: Right to adequate and ecologically sound waste management services

    Article xix: Right to disaster preparedness and response – 5 sections


    Part iv – b: Promoting patriotic, progressive and pro-people culture-responsive

    Introduction – 6 paragraphs

    Article i: Program for advancing cultural development – 7 sections

    Article ii  promoting patriotic, scientific, mass-oriented education -7 sections

    Article iii  developing progressive and people-oriented media – 5 sections

    Article iv promoting patriotic, progressive and pro-people arts and literature – 6 sections

    Article v  advancing the rights and welfare of educators, media practitioners, artists and cultural workers – 6 sections

    Part iv – c: Recognition of ancestral domain

    Introduction – 7 paragraphs

    Article i: Recognizing the right to self-determination – 9 sections

    Article ii: Participation in economic development – 5 sections

    Article iii: Protection from all forms of discrimination and rights violation

    Article iv: Implementing & verification mechanism/measures


    Part v: Economic sovereignty for national development


    Part v – a: Foreign economic and trade relations

    Intro – 6 paragraphs

    Article i: Definition of terms

    Article ii: General provisions for foreign economic relations – 8 sections

    Article iii: Upholding sovereignty in policymaking – 5 articles

    Article iv: Independent foreign trade and investment policies – 10 sections


    Part v – b: Financial, monetary and fiscal policies

    Intro – 6 paragraphs

    Article i: Definition of terms

    Article ii: Financing national development – 11 sections

    Article iii: Independent monetary and exchange rate policies  – 4 sections

    Article iv: Fiscal policy for socioeconomic development – 20 sections


    Part vi: Final provisions – 7 sections




    Implementation programs for social and economic development

     March 1, 2016 draft



    1. Program for agrarian reform and agricultural development
    • plans for developing specific crops/sectors


    1. Program for national industrialization
    • plans for developing specific industries/sectors
    • plans for promoting Filipino science and technology


    1. Program for a nationalized energy industry
    2. Program for nationalized water utilities
    3. Program for nationalized mass transport


    1. Program for strengthening the public health system
    2. Program for strengthening the public education system
    3. Program for promoting nationalist and pro-people culture
    4. Program for public housing


    1. Program for ensuring the economic rights of the working people
    • protection of workers
    • protection of Filipino migrant workers
    • protection of children and the elderly


    1. Program for environmental protection and rehabilitation
    2. Program for disaster preparedness and response


    1. Program for a progressive tax system and fiscal responsibility
    2. Program for nationalized banking and finance
    3. Program of independent monetary and exchange rate policies
    4. Program of foreign trade and investment relations for national development


    1. Program for promoting gender equality
    2. Program for the self-determination and autonomy of national minorities


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