Prof. Julian Prospero de Vera III, a political analyst who also serves as one of the advisers for the government, says the next challenge of the peace talks is on the preparation of the draft that will provide “definitions and concepts” on the outline of the social and economic reforms agenda. (Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano/

OSLO, Norway —  An adviser on the peace process said the signing of the joint statement between the government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front last Sunday is just a step towards more challenging discussions.

Commission on Higher Education, Prof. Julian Prospero de Vera III, a political analyst who also serves as one of the advisers for the government, said after both Parties agreed on a common outline for the agenda on social and economic reforms, the “more challenging” stage is on the preparation of the draft that will provide “definitions and concepts” on the outline.

He described CASER as “the soul of the peace agreement” where the issues on national industrialization, agrarian reform and social services are stated.

On Sunday, the GRP and the NDF signed the joint statement where the two parties agreed that CASER will include: rural equality and development to achieve food self-sufficiency; a sovereign, self-reliant and industrialized economy;  protected and rehabilitated environment, just compensation for affected populations, and sustainable development; social, economic and cultural rights of the working people upheld and discrimination eliminated; sustainable living incomes for all; affordable, accessible and quality social services and utilities; sovereign foreign economic policies and trade relations supporting rural development and national industrialization monetary and fiscal policy regime for national development. Stated here  were the outcomes that the government panel wanted to include in the outline.

De Vera explained that the two panels differed in the approach where they came from in discussing the SER.

“The NDF wanted to list down what the root cause of the conflict is and what the cause of poverty is, while the government wants to know what outcome we want then we move backwards,” he said in an interview, Monday, Oct. 10.

De Vera said when they discussed about the CASER, they made a matrix to see that the parties agree on a lot of points.

“Ang maganda dito sa CASER discussion, hindi kami nagtrabaho na talagang magkahiwalay na dokumento. Ang ginawa ng Philippine panel, tiningnan yung dokumento ng NDF, tiningnan yung dokumento ng GRP at gumawa kami ng matrix para ipakita na karamihan nagkakausundo naman sa ano yung dapat na lamang ng dokumento (What is good in our CASER discussion is that we didn’t work with a separate document. We looked at the document of the NDF and the GRP and made a matrix to show that there are several points on what the document should include which both Parties agree to),” he said.

He said they used the NDF’s working draft for the negotiations. Both Parties agreed on the preamble and the declaration of principles included in the NDF’s first part.

Both Parties also agreed on the subsequent parts taken from the GRP’s outline and the NDF’s comprehensive draft.

On Friday, Oct. 7 the reciprocal working committee on the social and economic reforms took a half day break as both parties differed in outlines.

The GRP’s nine-point outcome lists poverty eradication, environment and climate justice, globally competitive economy, adequate and quality social services, reduced inequalities, peaceful rural communities, food security, living incomes, and gender equality and representation. While the NDF has prepared its draft in 1998. The NDF draft listed economic sovereignty and national patrimony; agrarian reform and agricultural development; national industrialization and economic development; economic planning; rights of the working people, livelihood and social services; environmental protection, rehabilitation and compensation; monetary and fiscal policies; and foreign and economic trade relations.

De Vera said the early conclusion of the second round of talks, which was supposed to end Monday, signals that both Parties want to speed up the process.

“So magandang senyales yan kasi pinapakita na both sides ay gustong padaliin yung proseso ng meeting of the minds at nakikita din na seryoso ang both sides dun sa kanilang ginagawa (It shows that both parties want to make the meeting of the minds easier and it also shows that both parties are serious in what they are doing),” said De Vera.

De Vera said he is hopeful that the panels and consultants, who have “high levels of trust” with each other will achieve a final agreement.The next round of talks is set on the third week of January next year. (

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