On the GPH-CPP/NPA Front:
The Women Hold the Fort
The peace process with the CPP/NPA has been slow, but GPH panelists Jurgette Honculada and Lulu Tison and Secretariat head Carla Villarta are ready when the CPP/NPA are.
“WE STARTED OFF
with such high hopes… We started with grounded optimism. As the years wore on, it became grounded pessimism… Now
it’s just grounded.”That is how GPH panel member
Jurgette Honculada describes the peace negotiations with the
Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF).
Although she says it in jest, peace
talks between the Government Panel and the CPP/NPA/NDF have actually been stalled since February 2013.“But there are efforts to ‘un-stall’ it,”
she adds.A staunch advocate of labor and
women’s rights, Honculada became a member of the Government Peace Panel negotiating with the NDF in late 2010. “I suppose I was asked to
join because of my involvement with
the women’s movement and links
with the Presidential Adviser on the
Peace Process,” she explains. Jurgette and Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles have worked together in NGOs since the1980s.
Jurgette has always championed the cause of gender equality. Standing at the forefront of feminist organizations, she was the former
Chairperson of the Women’s Action Network for Development (WAND)
and former Vice Chairperson of PILIPINA. She also served two terms as Commissioner at the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (renamed Philippine
Commission on Women). During
the Arroyo Administration, she represented the women sector in the
National Anti-Poverty Commission.
She has also worked with the labor movement, undertaking trade union seminars with local unions of the National Federation of Labor in Mindanao and the Visayas.To date, she has participated three
times in negotiations: During the preliminary talks in January 2011, the formal talks in February 2011, and informal talks in June 2012, all held in
Raising Gender Concerns in the Peace Negotiations
Jurgette Honculada: Grounded pessimism