Norway meeting hailed, peace talks resumption welcomed
Filipino workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno held a symbolic protest at the Mendiola Peace Arch in Manila this morning to welcome the resumption of the peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines as signalled by the meeting between the two’s panels in Oslo, Norway last June 15.
To show their support for the peace talks, workers wrote down their demands on dove-shaped placards which they said symbolize peace based on justice.
“We welcome the GPH under President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and the NDFP’s efforts to resume the peace talks. It is high time that the two parties hold talks towards a just and lasting peace by addressing the roots of armed conflict in the country,” KMU chairperson Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog said.
The labor leader also welcomed Duterte’s commitment to release detained NDFP consultants even before an amnesty law is passed, as agreed upon in the recently-concluded preliminary talks, as a gesture of goodwill.
“The Duterte administration’s commitment to release political prisoners even before an amnesty law is signed shows how Duterte is way ahead of his predecessors in his sincerity to achieve peace in the country. We are hopeful that our fellow workers, unionists and labor rights advocates who have been illegally detained would come home to their families anytime soon,” Labog said.
According to Labog, the KMU is also hopeful that all political prisoners could be released as soon as possible. Among the more than 500 political prisoners are unionists and labor rights advocates who were been illegally arrested and filed with trumped-up charges for standing up for workers’ rights and welfare.
The labor center also expressed hope that the resumption of talks would serve as a venue to address the issues and substantial demands of Filipino workers that have long been rejected by previous administrations such as the junking of contractualization and the implementation of a National Minimum Wage of P750.
“We hope that the peace process would also serve as a venue to raise the just and substantial demands of Filipino workers for regular jobs, living wages and respect for trade union rights.” said Labog.