Unilateral ceasefire a welcome development
THE Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP) welcomes the announcement of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) of a unilateral ceasefire from March 26 to April 15, 2020. This declaration comes after President Duterte declared a unilateral ceasefire that started last March 19 and will also last till April 15.
The PEPP appreciates the commitment of both parties to halt hostilities, even for just a brief period, in order to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The parties’ separate declarations also address the call of the United Nations for a global ceasefire. Peace, however fragile, is very much needed in these trying times.
We hope that these unilateral ceasefire declarations will be faithfully observed by each party especially on the ground, and let peace serve the healing.
We also call on the government to exercise its magnanimity and release on humanitarian grounds political prisoners, especially the sick and the elderly, like Rey Claro Casambre of the Philippine Peace Center and other NDFP consultants. The sick and elderly prisoners are the most vulnerable to COVID-19.
In this season of Lent, let us reflect and pray that we will overcome this health crisis. We hope that after this predicament, the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations will prosper and peace will be had by all in our country.
ARCHBISHOP ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, SJ, DD
REV. FR. REX R.B REYES JR.
BISHOP DEOGRACIAS S. IÑIGUEZ JR., DD
BISHOP NOEL A. PANTOJA
SISTER MARY JOHN D. MANANZAN, OSB
Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform
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