Hopes, prayers for fruitful 3rd GRP-NDF talks
The Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform enjoins the Filipino people and the international community to support the forthcoming third round of formal peace talks between the Philippine government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF). As we start the year, let us all proclaim: “Let peace, based on justice, reign in our land!”
The third round of the GRP-NDF formal peace talks will be held on Jan. 18-23, 2017, in Rome, Italy. May the Holy Spirit guide all those involved as they discern ways to end the decades-old armed conflict in our country. We pray that the positive atmosphere, present in the first two rounds of talks, will continue and that both panels will put the interests of the people, especially the most vulnerable, at the center of the discussions. Our prayer goes with the hope that the negotiations on the second substantive agenda on social and economic reforms, which aim to address the roots of the armed conflict, redound to a peaceful future where all the basic requirements for all Filipinos to live an abundant life, as the Lord promised, are fulfilled.
We also call on both parties to show their fidelity to previously signed agreements, especially on the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. May this fidelity also manifest as the two parties work on a possible bilateral ceasefire agreement.
We also support the call for the release of political prisoners, especially the sick and the elderly. This is a very important confidence-boosting measure that prepares the ground for even more progress toward common understanding between the two sides.
Let us all remain vigilant against those whose intentions are to spoil the peace process as we work together for the interests of the Filipino people.
ARCHBISHOP ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, SJ, DD, cochair, PEPP-CBCP, REV. FR. REX RB REYES JR., cochair, PEPP-NCCP, BISHOP DEOGRACIAS S. IÑIGUEZ JR., head of the secretariat, PEPP-EBF, BISHOP NOEL A. PANTOJA, PEPP-PCEC, SR. MARY JOHN D. MANANZAN, OSB, OWGC-AMRSP-PEPP
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