DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Overseas Filipino workers are among the sectors who have been longing for just and lasting peace for their country.
But exploiting them as instruments to further delay the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines is unacceptable and improper.
This was raised by the overseas group Bayan-Hongkong-Macau in reaction to the recent statement of Secretary Jesus Dureza of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, saying: “We have a concept and a way of how we can involve our OFWs and we call these the ‘Peace Ambassadors’.”
The group’s chairperson, Eman Villanueva said just and lasting peace ”is what every Filipino, including the OFWs, want and that none of them will reject a just resolution of armed conflict rooted in abject poverty, landlessness, unemployment and massive inequality that deprive millions of Filipino people of a decent life and force them to work overseas”.
”Only those who benefit from the tyrannical rule of the government of President Rodrigo Duterte – warmongers, the oligarchs, and the US imperialist, will oppose a just and lasting peace,” he said.
“OFWs will not be made as pawns for the dirty game to further delay the resumption of the peace talks,” Villanueva clarified, as questioned the purpose is the government’s plan to make OFWs as peace ambassadors.
“Such plan for the OFWs will only legitimize the bankrupt justifications of those who are against the just and lasting peace to delay if not, later on, cancel the peace talks,” he added.
“We have much at stake in the talks for socio-economic reforms as such play a major part in the continuing forced migration and labor exportation of our people. We, overseas Filipinos, will not permit ourselves to be used to stall, or worse, abort the process just so Duterte can continue his bullish and tyrannical ways,” Villanueva continued.
He also hit the proposal of Sec. Dureza to conduct a public consultation about the on-going peace negotiation between the GRP and NDFP, saying that such move is a way of delaying if not completely derailing the peace talks.
He said that if the Duterte administration “is truly concerned in getting the public involved in the whole process then why do it only now when they should have started it long before the start of the back-channel talks focusing on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-economic Reforms or CASER”.
Villanueva said CASER will root out the very reasons of the armed conflict between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines, the NDFP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.
“The peace-loving Filipinos overseas cannot be deceived. We understand that the root cause of poverty, unemployment, low wages and the possible solutions on why, in the first place, we are forced to work abroad are embodied in the CASER,” he pointed out.
Only the implementation of genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization can correctly address the economic backwardness of the country that put millions of Filipinos in lamentable situations, Villanueva added.
The public consultation, he said will only expose the dubious agenda of the Duterte administration on the peace negotiation.
“We see here a scenario of over-delaying or cancellation of the peace talk and making the Filipino people, including OFWs, as scapegoats in this hullabaloo. The OFWs will not take the bait of the Duterte government in advancing his tyrannical and dictatorial maneuvering at the expense of Filipino peoples’ desire for a just and lasting peace,” Villanueva said. (davaotoday.com)