ENVIRONMENT and Natural Resources secretary Regina “Gina” Lopez said she is willing to attend the formal peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Asked for her reply to NDFP Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison’s invitation for her to attend the next round of formal talks, Lopez said, “Yeah, I’ll go.”
Sison earlier invited Lopez to the formal negotiations following her pronouncements she loves the New People’s Army and that she considers them selfless people only on the lookout for the welfare of poor Filipinos.
“The desire of Gina Lopez to work with the NPA for peace and development is welcome by the NDFP. It is directly related to the environment, agrarian reform and rural development now being negotiated under the substantive item Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms,” Sison said on his Facebook account.
“It will be fine if Gina attends the fifth round of formal talks,” Sison Added.
But Lopez said she wants to be confirmed first by the Commission on Appointments before attending.
“But if I don’t get confirmed, what will I do there? I have to have papel,” she said.
She added that she would also want to attend the formal negotiations with completed eco-tourism projects she could already present as viable alternatives to destructive activities such as mining.
“What I would want to do is to create models first than just talking. What I would like to do is to work with the NPA and create models where we get people out of poverty in like six months to a year. Then I’ll go talk to him (Sison): ‘Sir, look at what we did here. What if we do these everywhere?’” Lopez explained.
Lopez also said GRP President already knows her plans.
“Oh, yeah (the President knows). I like the President. He is really matapang (brave),” Lopez said.
Environment Protection, Rehabilitation and Compensation is Part VI of the ongoing GRP-NDFP negotiations on socio-economic reforms, along with Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (Part IV), National Industrialization and Economic Development (Part V).
According to their April 6 Noordwijk Aan Zee Joint Statement, the parties said they will start negotiating on Part VI of the socio-economic reforms agenda. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)