CASER what? Campaign to promote PH-NDF talks launched

Carmela Fonbuena

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CASER what? Campaign to promote PH-NDF talks launched
Ibon Foundation launches #CASERgoals, a campaign to promote public awareness on talks to reform the country's socio-economic policies

MANILA, Philippines – A new campaign is launched as talks to end Asia’s longest running communist insurgency approaches the 5th round, a crucial stage where negotiators hope to make progress in resolving contentious issues.

Leftist think tank Ibon launched on Monday, May 22, the campaign dubbed as #CASERgoals to promote public awareness on talks to reform the country’s socio-economic policies, a longtime advocay for the organization that opposes the country’s “neoliberal” policies. 

CASER is the acronym for the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, considered the most difficult stage in the peace process because it aims to radically change government policies in order to address widespread poverty 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,” Ibon said in a statement. 

Ibon executive director Jose Africa said poverty in the Philippines can only be addressed if the government is willing to institute polices that will go against vested interests.

Ibon is a data bank that has published various studies that advocate for national industrialization and free land distribution, the two key proposals of the communist rebels under CASER. (READ: PH, NDF talks: Both sides need to make painful compromises)  

Ibon launched the campaign during a media forum where negotiators of the government and communist rebels gave updates on the talks. 

Negotiators will return to The Netherlands this week for the 5th round of talks that will start on Saturday, May 27. 

Both sides committed to fast-track the talks. NDF consultant Alan Jazmines said they have made significant progress on free land distribution but they are only in the early stages of discussing national industrialization.

Both camps will also resume talks on the terms of reference for a bilateral ceasefire that the NDF said could only be implemented after CASER talks. 

“After the 5th round, we hope to see little steps forward,” Africa said. –

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