Duterte and the People’s Agenda



Saturday, September 24, 2016
2 pm – 5 pm
7th Floor, Student’s Lounge, Hall Building, Concordia University
1455 De Maisonneuve W, Montreal, QC H3G 1M8
Metro Guy-Concordia
Free admission, donations welcome

Organized by the Centre for Philippine Concerns and #JustPeacePH
- Platform for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines (Montreal)

Featuring five Montrealers just back from the Philippines:
Zharmaine Ante (AnakBayan Montreal)
Evelyn Calugay (PINAY)
Renz Grospe (AB Montreal)
Sherilyn Recinto (AB Montreal)


Peace talks are underway between the Government of Rodrigo Duterte (GRP) and the revolutionary forces of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). A six-point agreement was signed in Oslo, Norway this past August and the next crucial series of discussions are planned for October, also in Oslo.

On the table will be a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, or CASER, elements at the heart of a just and lasting peace. Meanwhile a ceasefire is holding between the government forces, composed of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on one side, and the New Peoples Army (NPA) on the other.

Why are there peace talks? It’s because a civil war has been raging in the Philippines since 1969. The daily, systematic and systemic injustice experienced by the majority of the people of the Philippines has driven them to seek fundamental changes in society through various means. Meanwhile, the tiny minority benefitting from the status quo uses all means at their disposal, including the instruments and violence of the state to defend it and prevent fundamental social change. As a result, many Filipinos have embraced armed struggle to overthrow the ruling system. That war continues throughout the country today.

The Canadian media have been full of stories about the controversial statements of the new Philippine President, about his war on drugs and his insults against the President of the US, among other things. But these headlines tell only a small part of what is going on in the Philippines, and have distorted reality to a large extent.


Virtually no international media attention has been given to the peace talks which the Duterte government has agreed to restart, much less the comprehensive 15-point People’s Agenda for Change that was presented to President Duterte the day he was sworn in. This Program for Nationalist and Progressive Change and a more detailed Agenda for the First 100 Days covers five major areas: Economy, Social Policy, Governance, Peace and Human Rights, and National Sovereignty and Foreign Policy.

Five Montrealers who spent up to three months immersed in the people’s movements in the Philippines this past summer will be present September 24 at Concordia to give us the real story of what is going on. They spent time in Negros, Nueva Ecija, Cebu and Mindanao, including Davao, the home city of the new President. Their testimonials will be up close, uncensored and first hand. They will expose some of the roots of the armed conflict in the Philippines and how the 15-point agenda starts to address the underlying causes of rebellion.

Join us with your stories and your questions. It will be a fulfilling and exciting afternoon of exchanges, punctuated by cultural presentations.

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