PEPP Encourages GRP-NDFP to Dialogue on Contentious Issues

The Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), the largest alliance of church federations in the Philippines commends both parties for the resumption of the peace talks on August 20, 2016. We especially commend President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for his bold step in declaring a unilateral ceasefire during his State of the Nation Address on July 25, 2016. We also commend the National Democratic Front of the Philippines for their immediate positive response. The PEPP strongly encourages the NDFP to reciprocate the gesture toward peace by also declaring a unilateral ceasefire to show a common commitment to establish the conditions for the resumption of the formal peace talks. The PEPP has journeyed with the GRP – NDFP peace talks since 2007 and recognizes the challenges of pursuing peace that seeks to address the root causes of this conflict that has gone on for 46 years. PEPP urges both parties to uphold their determination to continue the pursuit of peace, trusting that lasting peace is possible. They should not allow mistrust to deter or defeat this new beginning that is providing so much hope to our nation and people. Let our hearts be open to the understanding that we need each other in the pursuit of peace that is the fruit of trust and justice. Let us remain focused and steadfast in our endeavor. We urge all sides to dialogue on contentious issues that may come along the way. Let us be inspired by the words of Scripture that call upon each one of us to work together to “let justice roll down like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24)

Signed on July 30, 2016 (Sgd.) ARCHBISHOP ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, S.J., D.D. Co-chairperson, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) (Sgd.) REV. FR. REX RB REYES, JR. Co-chairperson, National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) (Sgd.) SR. MARY JOHN D. MANANZAN, OSB Member, OWGC-AMRSP (Sgd.) BISHOP NOEL A. PANTOJA Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) (Sgd.) BISHOP DEOGRACIAS S. INIGUEZ, JR. Co-chairperson, Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF)