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Labor group supports peace framework; asks that workers be part of the war against poverty


Labor group Federation of Free Workers (FFW) declared its support for the Government of the Philippines - Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Framework that was signed today, which hopes to put an end to the decades-old war in Muslim Mindanao.

“We can't have lasting peace in Morolandia through the barrel of the gun,” said Atty. Sonny Matula, national president of the FFW.

“The government and MILF are in the right direction. We call both parties to include labor and other basic sectors in social dialogue to bring peace to Mindanao,” Matula added.

The FFW, a national labor federation of unions in all industries, believes that genuine peace can only be achieved if the citizens could climb out of poverty. 

The labor group, which has been in existence since 1950, asserts that poverty can only be addressed substantially with the generation of decent employment.

“Our Muslim brothers need decent and productive work. This is a prerequisite to a just and lasting peace,” added Matula, who leads a labor group that has more than 200,000 members nationwide.

Continuing dialogue

“Like workers and employers disputes, we can't resolve our conflicts by eliminating each other. FFW submits that both government and MILF can resolve the conflicts through sincere dialogue,” said Matula. 

“But government and MILF on their own, cannot resolve the almost five decades-old conflict in southern Philippines without the active participation of the people--Moros and Christians alike,” said Matula.

The FFW president, who was born in Maguindanao also welcomes the the decision of the MILF to remain part of the Philippines with its call for a Bangsamoro.

The success of the process is beneficial to the people and the workers in Mindanao. "Our family and relatives were victims of the conflict in the 1970s -- we lost lives, limbs and properties including friends and friendship during the height of the war," Atty. Matula narrated.

"Workers are already sick and tired of war, we will support all initiatives by all parties to win a just peace and promote decent work -- we can win it by coming to an agreement, delivering social services, adopting drastic social and political reforms and ending poverty in the south," Matula added.

The FFW has trust and confidence over the government peace panel headed by former UP Law Dean Marvic Leonen. "Dean Leonen was our colleague in the Alternative Law Group (ALG), he is hardworking and intellectually sharp and his integrity is unquestionable," Atty. Matula added.

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