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‘The war horse is a vain hope’

12:02 AM February 20, 2017

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) is saddened by President Duterte’s decision to scuttle the peace talks between the Philippine government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF).

The hope of achieving a just and lasting peace was high when the peace talks between the GRP and NDF in Oslo and Rome made some gains beyond expectations. The commitment of both parties to peace was evident and exuded promise as they cleared the way to an agreement on

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socioeconomic reforms, the second substantive agenda (agreed in 1992) of the peace talks. The agenda seeks to address the roots of injustice that spawned the continuing 48-year-old conflict. At no other time has the dove of peace hovered so close over our beloved country.

The road to peace is full of twists and turns. Yet, it is to the best interest of the entire Filipino nation that we stay the course despite attempts to derail, shorten or divert the principled search for a just and lasting peace for our country and people. Ultimately it is not so much about a military victory as it is about nation-building. There is no other way but to keep the conversations going on how to remove the barriers on the road to peace.

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The NCCP joins the persistent, loudening call for the peace talks to continue. We make this urgent plea—for President Duterte: Hold on to your lofty vision of peace so well-articulated in the past.

We call to prayer our constituency, that the God of wisdom and peace may guide us all, especially our leaders and those directly involved in the peace process. We also bid our churches to read and reflect on the Oslo and Rome agreements. These and the much-awaited agreement on socioeconomic reforms are truly compelling reasons to pray and work for the peace talks to resume, prosper and come to a successful end.

Generations of Filipinos will remember the sisters and brothers who suffered and perished in this war. But more will remember and be grateful to the generation

before them who struggled to put an end to the strife, not with an all-out and costly military solution, but by addressing the economic injustice that has bred the unrest for so long.

The light for peace may grow dim, but it can never be extinguished, just as the voice of justice may be muffled but never silenced.

“The war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save.” (Psalms 33.17)

JUSTICE RAOUL V. VICTORINO (ret.), SHARON ROSE JOY RUIZ-DUREMDES, BISHOP RODOLFO A. JUAN , LISSA BELLE R. BROWN, REYNALDO M. NATIVIDAD, REV. REX RB REYES JR.

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National Council of Churches in the Philippines

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TAGS: Inquirer letters, Inquirer Opinion, Lissa Belle R. Brown, National Council of Churches in the Philippines, National Democratic Front, NCCP, NDP, Philippine peace talks, Raoul V. Victorino, Rex RB Reyes Jr., Reynaldo M. Natividad, Rodolfo A. Juan, Rodrigo Duterte, Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz-Duremdes
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