The Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP)* enjoins the Filipino people and the international community to support the forthcoming third round of formal peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). As we start the year, let us all proclaim: Let Peace Based on Justice Reign in Our Land.
The third round of the GRP-NDFP formal peace talks will be held on January 18-23, 2017 in Rome, Italy. May the Holy Spirit guide all those involved as they discern ways to end the decades-old armed conflict in our country. We pray that the positive atmosphere that was present in the first two rounds of talks continue and that both panels put the interests of the people, especially the most vulnerable, at the center of the discussions. Our prayer goes with the hope that the negotiations on the second substantive agenda on social and economic reforms that aims to address the roots of the armed conflict, redound to a peaceful future where all the basic requirements for all Filipinos to live an abundant life, as the Lord promised, is fulfilled.
We also call on both parties to show their fidelity to previously signed agreements especially on the Comprehensive Agreement for Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). May this fidelity also manifest as the two parties work on a possible bilateral ceasefire agreement.
We also support the call for the release of political prisoners, especially the sick and the elderly. This is a very important confidence boosting measure that prepares the ground for even more progress to be made on reaching common understanding between the two sides.
Let us all remain vigilant against those whose intentions are to spoil the Peace Process as we work together for the interests of the Filipino people. “Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” (Romans 14:19)
Issued and signed on this day, 14th day of January 2017.
ARCHBISHOP ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, S.J., D.D.
Co-chairperson, PEPP - CBCP
REV. FR. REX RB REYES,JR.
Co-chairperson, PEPP - NCCP
BISHOP DEOGRACIAS S. INIGUEZ, JR.
Head of the Secretariat, PEPP - EBF
BISHOP NOEL A. PANTOJA
PEPP - PCEC
SR. MARY JOHN D. MANANZAN, OSB
OWGC-AMRSP - PEPP
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