International Alert welcomes the interim ceasefire agreed between the Philippines government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), which paves the way for an end to a 48-year conflict.
Country Manager for International Alert in the Philippines Francisco ‘Pancho’ Lara has been supporting these peace negotiations as head of the government panel’s ceasefire committee. He helped craft the interim joint ceasefire agreement and will continue to work on ensuring a permanent ceasefire agreement is reached.
“This did not come easily. That has made us all the more determined to work on a permanent ceasefire and a final peace agreement,” said Lara.
The agreement, signed on 5 April in the Netherlands, where the fourth round of peace talks between the government and the NDFP was held, followed lengthy discussions and marks a significant breakthrough in one of two long-running peace processes in the Philippines. This had suffered various setbacks in the past, stemming from a lack of trust between communist insurgents and the government.
The ceasefire will take effect as soon as guidelines are approved. These will govern issues such as the presence of armed units of both parties in communities; the creation of buffer zones; prohibited, hostile and provocative acts; and a ceasefire verification and monitoring mechanism.
“We aim to put the interim ceasefire agreement into effect as soon as possible. We will be holding meetings in the coming weeks,” Lara said.
We have been pushing forward the peace process since beginning work in the Philippines in 1988.