Friday, January 1, 2016

resume talks

From the Website of INQUIRER

resume talks


The largest ecumenical grouping of church leaders in the country called on the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to resume peace talks that were stalled two years ago.

“May this season of hope inspire both parties to break down the dividing wall of hostility  and engage in principled negotiations to end the decades-old armed conflict in the country,” said the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP) in a statement.

The statement was signed by Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, S.J., D.D., PEPP co-chair; Bishop Noel A. Pantoja, National President of Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC); Rev. Fr. Rex RB Reyes, Jr., general secretary of National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), and Bishop Emeritus Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr., co-chair of the Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum (EBF).

The talks were called off on April 2013 after a 22-month impasse.

Recently, Ola Almgren, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, joined the call for a resumption of the negotiations.

On 8 December, Almgren called for “a full and meaningful resumption of the peace process” between the government and the NDFP in the context of the human rights challenges of the Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao as one of the longer term actions to end the Lumad crisis.

The government and the NDFP have declared respective ceasefires up to Jan. 3, 2016.

Meanwhile, Senator Grace Poe on Sunday called for an indefinite extension of the ceasefire.

“An extension of the ceasefire would be a goodwill gesture that could lead us back to the negotiating table. Armed conflicts must end. People are already weary of violence,” Poe said.

“We should not give up on peace. That is not an option for us,” Poe said.  “Let us not deprive our people of genuine progress. It’s time to move forward.”

Socio-economic reforms and progress, Poe reiterated, could only exist in a “peaceful and just society.”