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Youth to benefit most from genuine peace

/ 12:12 AM February 17, 2017

“They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:11)

The Kalipunan ng mga Kristyanong Kabataan sa Pilipinas (KKKP), a group of young Protestants and non-Roman Catholics, joins the Filipino people in calling for the resumption of the formal peace talks between the Philippine government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF), which President Duterte scrapped last Feb. 4.

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When Mr. Duterte assumed the presidency and announced his commitment to pursue talks with the NDF after years of impasse, we, the

ecumenical youth, became very hopeful of our country finally achieving peace. We looked forward to our perennial social problems (e.g., poverty and joblessness) properly addressed, and the root causes of the armed conflict in the Philippines finally resolved.

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We commended both the GRP and NDF for the gains they made at the negotiating table; some have been outstanding. We saw a glimmer of hope when both parties affirmed the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law

and the revival and strengthening of the supplemental guidelines for the Joint Monitoring Committee. We met with optimism the give and take in negotiation that had started for the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic

Reforms (Caser) supposedly to serve as the

basis for Philippine economic development. Those gains, to be sure, brightened the prospects for genuine peace to finally come to the whole Filipino nation.

We celebrated these triumphs, believing that we, the young, would benefit most from them, and so would be able to maximize our  potential and contribute to nation-building more meaningfully. We were confident that the socioeconomic reforms will give all farmers ownership of the land they till, open up decent job opportunities for school graduates, and bring about national industrialization that will result in genuine development for the whole country. We expected to see peace in our generation.

We, ecumenical youth, are committed to the quest for peace. We know that the road to peace is difficult, but motivated by a sense of justice, we will never falter in our quest.

This is our prophetic commitment. In this spirit, we call both the GRP and the NDF to go back to the negotiating table. For peace ensures the future of our nation, and therefore the youth’s future.

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As ecumenical youth, we thus call on President Duterte to continue with his promise to effect meaningful change. We call for the resumption of the peace talks between the GRP and the NDF.

Usapang pangkapayapaan, ituloy!

LISSA BELLE R. BROWN, general secretary, JIMARIE SNAP T. MABANTA, chair, Kalipunan ng mga Kristyanong Kabataan sa Pilipinas, [email protected]

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