Scientist group AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People welcomes the resumption of peace negotiations between the Philippine government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). We are excited about the opportunity that the peace talks opens up to advance discussions on much-needed socioeconomic reforms that will solve the root causes of armed conflict – the worsening social, economic, and environmental situation.

When formal peace negotiations halted in 2017 after former president Rodrigo Duterte unilaterally terminated the talks through Proclamation 360, the parties were in the middle of discussing the substantive agenda of the peace process – the Comprehensive Agreement on Socioeconomic Reforms or CASER. CASER aims to establish a framework for laws and policies on agrarian reform, rural modernization, and national industrialization that together will address the widespread poverty and inequality that are the roots of the armed conflict. We hope the resumption of peace talks will pick up and develop further the CASER as one of the frameworks of the peace negotiation.

AGHAM is hopeful that these comprehensive socioeconomic reforms will once again be tackled. National industrialization, in particular, is a field in which scientists, engineers, and technologists can contribute their knowledge and expertise. National industrialization will not only pave the way for the development of science and technology, but will also lead to a self-sufficient economy that will end the country’s dependence on foreign products and technologies. If pursued, the gains from national industrialization will be used to enhance the country’s agriculture sector, creating a synergistic relationship between agriculture and industry, which is necessary for self-reliance.

We call on all scientists to support the peace talks, cognizant of the important role that scientists will play in crafting and pushing for the economic development and just and lasting peace in the Philippines.###


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