The Philippine society today continues to be challenged by unpeace as seen in the daily occurrences of poverty, injustice, inequity, corruption, violation of human rights, armed conflicts and the need to provide concrete solutions to the root causes of the conflicts.

The Royal Norwegian government (RNG) has taken a facilitator role in the peace talks between the Philippine government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The RNG in 2002 has asked the ecumenical sector in Norway to establish contacts with the ecumenical sector in the Philippines to find ways to support the peace process.

The Norwegian Ecumenical Peace Platform (NEPP) conducted two fact-finding trips to the Philippines in August 2004 and February 2005. In the pilot phase of the program in 2006, NEPP’s ecumenical adviser made three visits to identify relevant collaboration partners, existing dialogue venues and peace related initiatives.

In the beginning of 2007, the NEPP established a Focal Group in the Philippines composed by persons from the Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF), Association of Major Religious Superiors-Task Forces Detainees of the Philippines (AMRSP TFDP), Catholic Relief Services (CRS) of Manila and Davao, the Pax Christi Pilipinas Secretariat in Bacolod, the Social Action Center of Pampanga (SACOP), the Protestant Silliman University in Dumaguete and Southern Christian College (SCC) in Midsayap and the Philippine Peace Center (PPC) in Manila. This focal group held workshop in Dumaguete city in May 2007 and in Bacolod in July 2007.

Inspired by the successful meetings and challenged by the stalled peace process between the GRP and the NDFP, the members of the focal group (FG) are encouraged by the prophetic presence and availability of religious leaders who can champion the call for a just and enduring peace.

The members of the Focal Group thereafter proposed the convening and formation of a Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), which will encourage the conflicting parties (GRP and NDFP) to resume the peace talks.

The PEPP is composed of members from the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP), Catholic Bishop’s Conference (CBCP), Ecumenical Bishop’s Forum (EBF), National Council of Churches (NCCP) and the Philippine Conference of Evangelical Churches (PCEC).

The Church leaders shall reflect on the prevailing situation of unpeace in the Philippines, the immediate need for creative conflict transformation and the urgent imperative for a political settlement to the armed conflict between the Philippine government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDFP). The purpose of the PEPP is to have a compelling united voice of Church leaders, clergy and laity that will push the conflicting parties into a continuing substantive peace dialogue. The PEPP shall articulate the urgent call for the resumption of the peace talks between the two parties focused on providing concrete and comprehensive solutions to the primary causes of the problems and renewed by the visions of a just peace which resonates among the various religious communities.

A workshop was convened in the Philippines November 2007 among the Church Leaders for confidence building, consensus points and articulation of the talking agenda in the Church Leader Conference in Norway in September 2008. An important discussion with the Church Leaders will be how to engage and challenge the two parties to offer concrete, substantive, comprehensive and peaceful solutions to the root causes of the armed conflict in Philippine society.

Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP) Church Leaders

Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, D.D.
Co-Chairperson, PEPP
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines

Ms. Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz-Duremdes
Co-Chairperson, PEPP
National Council of Churches in the Philippines

Most Rev. Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr., D.D.
Head, PEPP Secretariat
Co-chairperson, Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF)

Bishop Efraim M. Tendero, D.D.
National Director
Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches

Most Rev. Broderick S. Pabillo, D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Manila

The Rt. Revd. Alex Wandag, ECP
Diocese of Santiago

Sr. Mary John M. Mananzan, OSB
Co-Chairperson, AMRSP-Women

Very Rev. Fr. Jesus S. Malit, SSS
Co-chairperson, AMRSP-Men

Core Group Members

Sr. Crescencia L. Lucero, SFIC
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines

Rev. Fr. Rex B. Reyes, Jr.
General Secretary, NCCP

Mr. Cesar H. Villanueva
National Coordinator, Pax Christi Pilipinas

Mr. Rey C. Casambre
Executive Director, Philippine Peace Center

Muriel Orevillo-Montenegro, Ph.D.
Divinity School, Silliman University

Pastor Cobbie Palm
Divinity School, Silliman University

Dr. Erlinda Senturias
CREDO

Fr. Francis Dizon
Executive Director
Social Action Center of Pampanga

Ms. Myla Leguro
Catholic Relief Services, Mindanao

Miss. Ofelia A. Cantor
PEPP Secretary