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statements April 4, 2011
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CPA & KATRIBU organize Joint Peace Consultation in Cordillera Day 2011 with GRP and NDFP

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) and KATRIBU have organized a joint peace consultation with representatives of the Government of the Republic  of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on April 27, 2011, on the occasion of Cordillera Day 2011  in Lacub, Abra.   The peace consultation is in light of the ongoing discussions on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reform (CASER), where the rights and aspirations of indigenous peoples must be seriously considered and respected. Church leaders will preside and facilitate the joint consultation. The CASER is the second substantive agenda of the peace negotiations, the first being the respect of human rights and international humanitarian law; the third on constitutional and political reform; the fourth and last on the cessation of hostilities. 

“Indigenous peoples should be consulted in the discussions on CASER because it involves us, and in defining socio-economic reforms, our right to self determination must be recognized. Also, an effective mechanism must be made for indigenous peoples to actively engage the two panels,” said CPA Chairperson Windel Bolinget. Furthermore, he added that the peace talks and indigenous peoples is a major concern in activities that were held specifically for the articulation of an Indigenous Peoples Agenda. These include  the Indigenous Peoples Agenda submitted by CPA, KATRIBU and the Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP) on August 5, 2010 to Malacañang ; the Indigenous Peoples Agenda submitted to an official emissary of Pres. Aquino on August 9, 2010 on the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, State of the Nation Address  in July 2010 by the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, and the National IP Agenda  in the same month by the Assisi Foundation, and recently, in the National Indigenous Peoples Summit convened by the Chairperson of the House Committee on National Cultural Communities last March 21-23.
Apart from the Unity  Pact  on mining and human rights to be presented by Cordillera elders, the joint consultation is one of the most significant events in our celebration of Cordillera Day 2011, which is guided by the theme Live Out the Glorious History of  Our Struggle! Fight for Land, Life and Honor! Bolinget added that there is no better time to have the joint consultation on CASER than Cordillera Day, which will gather around 4,000 indigenous peoples from the Cordillera provinces, other regions and abroad.  

Ednar Dayanghirang and Juliet Tizon of the government’s peace panel will be attending, while Rafael Baylosis and Randall Echanes  shall represent the NDFP in the joint peace consultation.

“We are honored to organize this event in time for Cordillera Day, which CPA has been successfully organizing since 1985. This is just one of our contributions on indigenous peoples’  rights in the peace talks through the CASER. We look forward to substantial results  in the joint consultation,” Bolinget said.

The peace talks between the GRP and NDFP formally resumed from February 15-21, 2011 and was facilitated by the Royal Norwegian Government after being unilaterally suspended in the last 6 years under the Arroyo regime.  A major written agreement in the  peace talks is the Hague Declaration, which identifies the resolution of the armed conflict, attainment of just and lasting peace  and the identification of  tentative agreements on substantive issues as the purpose of the negotiations. It further states that the negotiations must be held  “in accordance with mutually accepted principles, including national sovereignty, democracy and social justice.” #



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