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Our Continuing Hope and Cry for Peace

“But those who hope for the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)

We are the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), the largest ecumenical formation of church leaders in the country today. As peace advocates, compelled by the gospel mandate, we see it within the ambit of our mission to accompany the peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

We held our 4th Church Leaders’ Summit in Cebu City this June 29 to July 1, 2015 with sixty-three (63) participants representing the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP-men and women), Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum (EBF), National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) coming from all over the country to express our support for the resumption of the peace talks between the parties. As we journey with the GPH-NDFP peace process, we resolved to amplify the call to both parties to resume the formal peace talks on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) that has been in an impasse since February 2011.

The former Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chair, Atty. Christian Monsod and former National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Chief, Dr. Cielito Habito briefed us on the challenges of social justice and the need for fundamental socio-economic reforms that will address the issues of poverty and inequity – the roots of the armed conflict. We heard the explanations of former GPH Peace Panel member, Atty. Rene Sarmiento on how the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) was crafted through an arduous process of negotiations including the contentious issue of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), which underwent a total of 17 drafts.

We were likewise moved by the testimonies of a health worker, a farmer and a LUMAD about their experiences of injustice and the violation of their fundamental rights in their communities. We also engaged in profound conversations on how we as church leaders and our flock, can contribute to the peace negotiations in order to attain the peace our people cry for. This sharing of insights and experiences by our resource persons and our own conversations has inspired us to remain committed and steadfast in our accompaniment work with the GPH-NDFP Peace Process.

Recent developments have also strengthened our resolve. We are enthused by the recent pronouncements of the GPH and NDFP that they are open to the possibility of going back to the negotiating table. We are similarly encouraged by the perseverance and ready involvement of the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) in its role as third party facilitator with the appointment of a new special envoy in the person of Ms.  Elisabeth Slattum, as we also call for a more proactive facilitation.

We call on the GPH and NDFP to immediately resume the formal peace talks in order to address the roots of the armed conflict. Along with this call is our appeal to both parties to make themselves more visible and accessible to the public, especially to the organizations accompanying this process.

As an expression of our commitment, we will help spread the good news of peace through the creative education of our people on the GPH-NDFP process. We will do innovative approaches to peace in our churches like popularizing peace sports, songs, dances and other art forms in support of the peace process. We will encourage our young people to be involved in different fora. We will likewise make our church leaders more visible in the public media expressing their full support to the talks. We will use the time and space during the election months to consolidate our ranks, strengthen our collective strategies, dialogue with different stakeholders to sustain the peace process and be more pro-active when an opportunity opens up for the resumption of the talks.

We affirm that all signed agreements that were painstakingly negotiated by both parties in the past are signs of hope and should be honored to serve as building blocks for future agreements.

We will journey with the parties and our people until the day we see the dawning of peace.

We enjoin all peace-loving Filipinos to continually pray and tirelessly work for peace. 

Issued and signed  this day, July 1, 2015.

Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines [CBCP]

ARCHBISHOP ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, S.J., D.D.         ARCHBISHOP JOSE S. PALMA, D.D.
Co-chairperson, PEPP                                                         Archdiocese of Cebu
Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro

MOST REV. DEOGRACIAS S. IÑIGUEZ JR, D.D.        MOST REV. GERARDO ALMINAZA, D.D.
Head of Secretariat, PEPP                                                Diocese of San Carlos

REV. FR. KING GAZA, CM                                                  REV. FR. EDWIN LAUDE           
Archdiocese of Cebu                                                           Diocese of San Carlos


National Council of Churches in the Philippines [NCCP]

REV. FR. REX RB REYES, JR.                                     BISHOP REUEL NORMAN O. MARIGZA
General Secretary, NCCP                                              General Secretary,
Member, PEPP Core Group                                          United Church of Christ in the Philippines


THE RT. REV’D JOSELITO P. CRUZ                        THE RT. REV’D RUDY N. JULIADA
General Secretary,                                                        Chair, Mindanao Bishops Conference
Iglesia Filipina Independiente                                    Iglesia Filipina Independiente


BISHOP JEZER BERTOLDO                                      REV. FR. JAMES BOLIGET
Area Bishop – UCCP
West Visayas Jurisdiction                                           Episcopal Church in the Philippines


BISHOP RACQUELITO JARENA                             MSGR. MODESTO ENRIASO
Apostolic Catholic Church                                         Apostolic Catholic Church


REV. ALVIN S. JOVITA                                              REV. JOHANNES BLESS F. PACE
Conference Minister, Cebu                                       CEBU CITY

Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches [PCEC]


BISHOP NOEL A. PANTOJA                                  BISHOP ELLIE MERCADO    
National Director                                                      Peace and Reconciliation


REV. DR. NORMAN NAROMAL                           REV. DR. ALDRIN PENAMORA       
Peace and Reconciliation                                     Peace and Reconciliation


REV. DANIEL LUIS A. PANTOJA                          REV. DR. NAS SILLAVA
Peace and Reconciliation                                      Peace and Reconciliation

MR. NEMUEL CASTRODES                                MR. MARK DIMERIN       
PCEC                                                                        PCEC




Ecumenical Bishops Forum [EBF]

THE MOST REV. DEOGRACIAS S. INIGUEZ, JR., D.D.    THE RT. REV’D FELIXBERTO L. CALANG
Head of the Secretariat, PEPP                                                Member, PEPP Core Group
Co-chairperson, EBF                                                                Co-chairperson, EBF           

THE RT. REVD. ROMAN B. TIPLES, JR., IFI                        THE RT. REVD. JONATHAN CASIMINA
Founding Member, EBF                                                           ECP Episcopal Diocese of Davao

BISHOP ELORDE SAMBAT                                                    BISHOP JOEL TENDERO        
Area Bishop, UCCP North Luzon                                           Area Bishop, UCCP South Luzon    

BISHOP MELZAR LABUNTOG                                              THE RT. REV’D REDEEMER A. YAÑEZ
Area Bishop, UCCP Northwest Mindanao                           Iglesia Filipina Independiente                   


BISHOP LITO C. TANGONAN                                               THE RT. REV’D RONELIO FABRIQUIER
Ang Iglesia Metodista ng Pilipinas (AIMP)                          Iglesia Filipina Independiente

THE RT. RAUL AMORCILLO                                               THE RT. REV. DELFIN CALLAO, JR.
Iglesia Filipina Independiente                                              Iglesia Filipina Independiente

THE RT. REVD. ROMEO TAGUD                
Iglesia Filipina Independiente               


Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines


FR. ARVIN BELLEN, CMF                              BRO. NICER NATULLA, CMF
AMRSP – Men                                                 AMRSP - Men

REV. FR. ARNEL BRUZA                               REV. FR. JONATHAN JONATHAN TIANEN
AMRSP- Men                                                   AMRSP - Men

REV. FR. JUSTINO ESTOQUE                     REV. FR. ALADDIN LUZON, OSA
AMRSP – Men                                                 AMRSP - Men

SR. MA. VIRGINIA LIGARAY, RVM               SR. FIDELIS SABIO, PBVM   
AMRSP - Women                                             AMRSP - Women

SR. LUZ MALLO, m.a.                                    SR. REBECCA PACETE, MMS
SAMIN    , PEPP                                              AMRSP - Women

SR. MA. ASCENCION TREVENIO, CM             SR. NOEMI DEGALA, SMSM
AMRSP -Women                                                   AMRSP – Women



PEPP Coordinators, Core Group Members, Program Staffs and Resource Persons


MS. OFELIA A. CANTOR                                          DR. MURIEL O. MONTENEGRO
Program Secretary, PEPP                                       Regl Coordinator, Visayas Region
 
REV. FR. CHRISTOPHER N. ABLON                   PASTOR COBBIE PALM
Regl Coordinator, Mindanao Region                   Silliman University, PEPP Core Group

           
MR. CESAR H. VILLANUEVA                                PROF. JERRY IMBONG           
Pax Christi Institute, PEPP Core Group               College of Political Science
San Juan de Letran, Manila

MS. MA. FE. GONZALES                                       DR.  LIZA LAMIS
Archdiocese of Cebu                                              Iloilo City

PROF. REGLETO IMBONG                                MR. JON NEIL PERFECIO
University of the Philippines – Cebu                Visayas Community Medical Center
Archdiocese of Cebu                                          West Visayas Jurisdiction
Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation         UCCP – Cebu City


REV. FELY TENCHAVEZ                                   MR. DENNIS ABARIENTOS
Program Coordinator                                          Karapatan Visayas
Peace Solidarity

MS. LUCIANA TAGARO                                     MR. DANILO OLAYVAR
Workers                                                                 HUMABOL/Peasants

MR. ROGER PLANA                                            ATTY. RENE V. SARMIENTO
Lumad                                                                    Chairperson, Sulong CARHRIHL
                                                                                 Former Member, GRP Peace Panel

DR. CIELITO F. HABITO                                          ATTY. CHRISTIAN S. MONSOD
Former Chief, NEDA                                               Former Commissioner
National Economic Development Authority        Commission on Elections