#CASERGoals: Campaign to promote reforms vital to peace, development launched

May 22, 2017

by IBON Foundation

To promote deeper public discussion and greater awareness on needed policy reforms for genuine development and peace in the country, IBON launched its #CASERGoals campaign today.

#CASERGoals is IBON’s attempt to involve and educate the public on these key reforms as the Duterte administration and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) hammer out a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER). The two sides are set to negotiate for the fifth time later this month in The Netherlands to end almost five decades of insurgency in the country.

IBON aims to use #CASERGoals as its public information, education and advocacy campaign to advance progressive, pro-people, and nationalist economics as among the necessary foundations of a CASER that government and the NDFP are trying to forge.

Addressing the chronic lack of sustainable and productive jobs and livelihoods for millions of Filipinos should be one of the primary goals of a CASER, IBON stressed. This could only be achieved through building strategic local industries under national industrialization and free land distribution and state support as part of genuine agrarian reform. Reversing decades of liberalization of foreign trade and investment will also help create a favorable environment to revitalize key sectors like manufacturing and agriculture to generate economic opportunities for the people, the group said,.

Another goal should be to provide the basic economic and social services the people need to ensure their decent living and encourage their productivity, added IBON. The group said that among others, this entails rethinking the privatization of infrastructure development such as under public-private partnership (PPP).

The group also said that recent people’s actions such as the occupation by the urban poor of idle public housing units and the occupation by farmers and farmworkers of lands grabbed from them by haciendas and plantations highlight the urgency and legitimacy of demands to review established economic programs and policies and institute meaningful reforms.

The group said that the ongoing peace talks gives an opportune time to engage policy makers and the public on these urgent and long-term social and economic reforms that will finally address the underdevelopment, poverty, and injustice that feed the armed conflict. But IBON pointed out that the campaign for reforms should also be pursued beyond the peace talks through people’s struggles including constant engagement with government to influence policy making and decisions.

To kickoff its #CASERGoals campaign, IBON organized a media forum today with panels from both the Duterte administration and the NDFP negotiating teams to discuss the current proposals on a CASER. The proposed agreement would be the main agenda in the upcoming fifth round of formal peace talks on May 26 to June 2. ###