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April 4, 2017 by bayanmuna_admin

Bayan Muna Rep.Carlos Isagani Zarate, vice chair of the House Committee on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity said that "we welcome the opening of the 4th Round of GRP-NDFP Peace talks with resolve to push even more the parties to focus on crafting a comprehensive agreement on socio-economic and political reforms that will address the country's nearly five-decade old communist-led armed rebellion.“That yesterday's formal opening was preceded by terror-tagging and name-calling from the militarist elements of the administration only bolster the need to expand the peace constituency to thwart efforts to spoil or sabotage the gains already reached in the past three rounds of talks,” added the progressive solon.“We also welcome the respective statements of both panels to forge a ceasefire agreement and to hasten the release of political prisoners,” he said.“The opening of the Fourth Round of talks is significant as it comes in the heels of the 25th anniversary of The Hague Joint Declaration, signed on September 1992, which set the sequential agenda of the GRP-NDFP Peace Process,” said the Davao-based solon.Rep. Zarate also expressed the party-list’s group support for free land distribution to peasants, who have remained landless after more than 50 years of bogus land reform programs of the different regimes. Free land distribution is one of the key factors of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER).“About two decades ago data from the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) say that 7 out of 10 farmers do not own the land they till, but after the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extension and Reform (CARPER) instead of improving the situation of farmers further deteriorated. Now, 9 out of 10 peasants do not own the land they till and what is worse though is that the CARP and the CARPER are even used to evict peasants from their lands by land use conversion schemes and other methods,” said Rep. Zarate.“So it is very timely that on the fourth round of the formal peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) will tackle the issue of free land distribution and nationalization of industries, under the CASER . It is imperative that free land be given to those who till them because they are the ones investing sweat and blood to feed the nation but they are the ones with nothing to eat,” added the progressive solon.“We must also note that there is the Makabayan bloc House Bill 555 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Program (GARB) that proposes to give free land to tillers and we hope that this piece of legislation can help in the peace talks and the two sides can reach a compromise and benefit peasants throughout the country,”“In the next four days, we trust that the panels along with all the stake holders of the peace talks, will stay focused on our peoples' clamor for a just and lasting peace in the country,” ended Rep. Zarate.##

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