Letter to the Editor
19 February 2011
Allow us, OFWs and families, to express our unequivocal support, with hope, for the success of the on-going peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
OFWs are peace-loving, like any other peace-loving Filipino citizens, who yearn for peace to reign in the homeland, but peace that is built on the tenets of social justice.
It is our view that Filipino migration abroad is rooted in grinding poverty due to worsening economic condition. The Philippines has remained backward, agrarian and without basic industries.
Philippine economy is incapable of absorbing the increasing labor force that arises mainly from the countryside – the millions of unemployed landless peasants and the struggling wage-earners in selected urban centers.
The few big landlords and multinational agribusiness and mining corporations own or control most of the land, displacing millions of peasants some of whom become seasonal migrant farm workers and fishermen and the majority into landless rural poor.
This situation has been aggravated by the policy of land conversion that allows landlords to convert their lands into so-called industrial zones, housing estates and eco-tourism projects.
The landlessness of the majority’s farmers in the Philippines is a legitimate social justice issue that previous administrations failed to address or were not willing to address anyway as it runs contrary to their class interests.
We are quite certain that on the on-going peace negotiations between GHP and NDFP, social and economic reforms will be discussed among other relevant issues, expressing hopes that the root causes of Filipinos forced migration will be tackled by both panels, which actually are also the very root of the armed conflict –landlessness, poverty, and jobs scarcity.
We are raising serious concern on the ploy by some rogue, hard-liners military officers to discredit and hamper the on-going peace negotiation. The arrest of NDFP peace consultant Alan Jasmines by the military is likened to building humps on the already rocky road to peace.
Migrante-Middle East chapters and the Muslim-Christian Alliance for Justice and Peace in the Philippines (MCA-JPP) joins other sectors calling on the Aquino government and the GHP peace panel to immediately release Jasmines and all political prisoners in the country as a gesture of goodwill that would clear the way to forging peace accord between the GPH and NDFP in the near future.
John Leonard Monterona (signed)
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator
Convenor, Muslim-Christian Alliance for Justice and Peace in the Philippines