PEPP welcomes new peace talk initiatives
THE PHILIPPINE Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), the largest ecumenical formation of church leaders in the country today, supports the efforts of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to resume the formal peace talks between the Philippine government (GPH) and the National Democratic Front (NDF). PEPP appreciates the promise to release political prisoners, including NDF consultants among them, as a confidence-building measure for the talks.
PEPP welcomes reports that the President-elect will send emissaries to Oslo, Norway, this month to talk to their counterparts in the NDF. PEPP believes that the preliminary talks between incoming Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and incoming Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza with NDF peace panel chair Luis Jalandoni and NDF chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison will bear fruit. The prospects of a ceasefire from both sides may also bring favorable conditions.
PEPP welcomes the promise that all signed agreements that were painstakingly negotiated by both parties in the past will be honored to serve as building blocks for future agreements.
PEPP remains steadfast in its conviction that addressing the roots of the armed conflict in the country by engaging in principled dialogue is a positive step forward. We hope that through the resumption of the formal peace talks, social justice and the need for fundamental socioeconomic reforms will finally be tackled.
We enjoin all peace-loving Filipinos to continually pray and tirelessly work for peace by supporting these new initiatives of the incoming administration toward peace. With our faith, we resolve and pray to continue supporting the GPH-NDF negotiations as part of our people’s quest for a just and enduring peace.
—ARCHBISHOP ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, SJ, DD, cochair, REV. FR. REX RB REYES JR., cochair, BISHOP DEOGRACIAS S. IÑIGUEZ JR., DD, head secretary, Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform, BISHOP NOEL A. PANTOJA, national director, Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, SR. MARY JOHN M. MANANZAN, OSB, Institute of Women Studies, St. Scholastica’s College
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