Urgent Appeal: Resume Formal Peace Talks Now!
Statement of the Philippine
Ecumenical Peace Platform
The Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), the largest ecumenical
formation of church leaders in the country. is saddened by the fading
prospects in the peace negotiations between the Government of the
Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
The recent arrest of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, alleged by the Armed Forces
of the Philippines to be the chair and secretary general respectively, of
the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), will put a damper again to
the formal peace talks that restarted so optimistically in February 2011.
We have now been witnessing a flurry of accusations and
counter-accusations between the two parties. The NDFP argues that the
arrest was a violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity
Guarantees (JASIG). The members of the government panel, on the other hand
are claiming that the couple are not covered by the agreement. Amidst all
of these. the PEPP hopes that this will not lead It the total breakdown of
the peace negotiations. As it is, the talks have already been stalled too
long. We call on both sides to go back to the negotiating table, and talk
about the next steps that can be take, to forge a path to a just and
We pray that both panels take to heart that negotiations towards peace are
always incremental, a historical building process that takes years,
sometimes with great steps forwards and at others times slow and tedious.
In this movement towards a negotiated peace, the gains of the past should
never be discarded. Both parties need to keep building on the platforms
that have been threshed out through principled negotiations. Every time a
gain is made, it needs to be fixed and safeguarded in place.
We call on both panels to continue to work towards peace and to seriously
consider the very root causes of why there is ongoing-armed conflict in
our country. The PEPP maintains that principled negotiations not the
surrender of one party to the other, is what makes for genuine and
Peace is elusive, but it can be achieved. As the scriptures say, peace is
God's gift, but it is the responsibility of persons of goodwill to make it
a flourishing reality — a flourishing reality where food is on every
table, people have decent houses and adequate livelihood, and where no one
is afraid. We call on the GPH and the NDFP to help make this flourishing
reality hem fruit "And the seed whose fruit is justice and is sown in
peace by those who make peace" (James 3:18).
We also call on the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) as the chosen
facilitator to immediately do conciliation work so that the formal peace
process can get back on track.
In sincere prayer and petitions, we raise our concerns to our God of
Signed and Issued on the 28th day of March, 2014,
ARCHBISHOP ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, S.J., D.D.
MS. SHARON ROSE JOY RUIZ-DUREMDES
MOST REV. DEOGRACIAS S. INIGUEZ, JR., D.D.
Head of the Secretariat, PEPP