25 January 2017, Rome

Her Excellency Ambassador Elisabeth Slattum, Special Envoy to the Philippine Peace Process
Secretary Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Secretary Silvestre H. Bello, Chairperson, GRP Negotiating Panel
Chairperson Fidel Agcaoili of the NDFP Negotiating Panel
Dear Compatriots of the GRP and NDFP Delegations
Esteemed guests and friends,

At this closing ceremony, the GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels shall sign the Joint Statement which sums up the successful work in the third round of formal negotiations and paves the way for further advance in the fourth round in April.

We of the NDFP express our highest sense of gratitude to the Royal Norwegian Government for consistently facilitating the Philippines peace process and the Italian government for enabling the third round in Rome.

The two Parties can congratulate each other for a successful round of talks, for pushing the further implementation of CARHRIHL, for effecting the exchange of complete drafts of CASER and the CAPCR and for starting the work to unify these drafts.

The period between rounds of formal negotiations is not rest but more intense work of subcommittees of the RWCs on CASER and the respective RWGs on PCR meeting in Manila. We can be confident that as soon as the RWCs on CASER will submit their final drafts for approval by the Negotiating Panels, the RWG’s on PCR will become the RWC’s on PCR and finish their work in a few months’ time.

When the Fourth round of talks comes, the goal of finishing the unified drafts of the CASER and CAPCR shall be in sight. We hope that before the end of 2017, these comprehensive agreements will be ready for approval by the Panels, and soon thereafter by the principals. We can be ready for the founding of the Federal Republic of the Philippines in 2018.

We look forward to the implementation of CARHRIHL, CASER and CAPCR for at least two years before the signing of CAEHDF in 2020. In view of the implementation in full swing, the two Parties shall have the highest confidence in signing the CAEHDF.

Thank you.