The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) is saddened by the statement of the President to scuttle the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. President Rodrigo R. Duterte announced his government’s withdrawal from the peace talks on February 4, 2017.
Hope for a just and lasting peace was high as the agreements in Oslo and Rome reached achievements beyond our expectations. The commitments of both panels were evident, vibrant and exude promise as they cleared the way towards reaching an agreement on socio-economic reforms, the second substantive agenda of the peace talks forged in 1992. The Socio-Economic Reform agenda seeks to address the roots of the injustices that has spawned this forty-eight year old war. At no other time has the dove of peace hovered so closely over our beloved country.
The road to peace is full of twists and turns. Yet, it is to the best interest of a just and lasting peace that we stay on course despite attempts to derail, shorten or divert the principled process like ours in the Philippines. In the end it is not so much about military victory as it is about building a nation. There is no other way but to continue the conversations for peace to remove those peace barriers.
The NCCP joins the persistent and loudening voice to continue the peace talks. We make this urgent plea to the President to hold on to his lofty vision of peace so well-articulated in the past. We call to prayer our constituency that the God of wisdom and peace will guide us all, especially our leaders and those directly involved in the peace process. We also bid our churches to read and reflect on the Oslo and Rome agreements. These and the much awaited agreement on socio-economic reforms are truly compelling reasons to pray and work that the peace talks resume, prosper and draw to a successful end.
Generations will remember sisters and brothers who suffered and perished in this war. But, generations will remember more and be grateful to the generation before them who struggled to put an end to the strife, not through an all-out and costly military solution, but by addressing the economic injustice that has bred the unrest for so long. The light for peace may grow dim but is never extinguished just as the voice for justice may be muffled but never silenced. “The war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save.” (Psalms 33.17)
JUSTICE RAOUL V. VICTORINO, Ret.
BISHOP RODOLFO A. JUAN
MS. SHARON ROSE JOY RUIZ-DUREMDES
MS. LISSA BELLE R. BROWN
MR. REYNALDO M. NATIVIDAD
REV. REX RB REYES, JR.
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