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

 

International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines. The ICHRP is a global network of organizations based outside of the Philippines, committed to campaigning for human rights and Filipino people's rights.