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Sunday, 30 March 2014

CBCP Statement on the Signing of Peace Agreement

From the Website of CBCP

CBCP Statement on the Signing of Peace Agreement

Like all peace loving Filipinos, we rejoice with our countrymen as we mark a milestone in the peace process with the signing of the peace agreement between the Philippine Government and the MILF. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We pray that this first courageous breakthrough will be followed by more steps leading to true and lasting peace in Mindanao.

I appeal to the Philippine government panel to continue the process of wide spread consultation and an honest, open and trusting dialogue with other communities in Mindanao especially those who feel marginalized and ignored like the MNLF. It is so important for peace to be sustainable that it be inclusive and all embracing. The strength of the signing agreement lies in its willingness to reach out to everyone including those who are antagonistic to it. A continuing dialogue will strengthen our peace even more.

It is very urgent that economic activity in Mindanao be enhanced immediately. There ca be no peace without human development. Development and the promotion of human progress is another name for peace. The promotion of total human development is long delayed. It cannot wait further. The people of Mindanao have been suffering for decades.

May we all be ready to become channels of peace! Peacemakers are children of God.

+Socrates B Villegas

Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan
CBCP President


Resume talks with reds now, PNoy told

QUEZON City—March 30, 2014—In the interest of peace, groups made up of prominent Church leaders and human rights watchers, called on the Aquino administration to ditch its “military approach” and resume peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army- National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP).

(L-R) Rey Claro Casambre, (Philippine Peace Center), Rev. Rex Reyes Jr. (National Council of Churches in the Philippines), Caloocan Bishop Emeritus Deogracias Iñiguez (Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform), Nardy Sabino (Promotion of Church People’s Response), Sr. Maureen Catabian, RGS (Pilgrims for Peace, and Benjo Basas (Sulong CARHRIHL) emphasize the urgency of resuming peace talks with the (CPP-NPA-NDFP). (Photo credit: Raymond A. Sebastián)
Band-aid solution

In a press briefing at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Monument) in Quezon Avenue Friday, the peace groups stressed that a “military approach” to the Marx-inspired insurgency will at best be a “band-aid” solution to the problem if the conditions that create rebels out of people are still in place.

This refers to the arrest on March 22 of two alleged top Communist party chiefs Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, with five others in Cebu, bringing back to the limelight the four decades-long armed conflict between the Philippine government and the Maoist rebels, and the issues that have stalled the peace talks for years.
While both parties refuse to sit down and talk their differences over, violations of human rights are increasing and intensifying, with poverty and hunger remaining everyday realities which haunt the ‘poorest of all’, Pilgrims for Peace co-chair Fr. Rex Reyes, Jr said..

He said, this reality must make resuming peace negotiations a priority for both parties.
Roots of the conflict

“Genuine peace in the country can only be achieved by addressing the roots of the armed conflict, by replacing the ruling socio-economic and political system with a genuinely and democratic one,” Philippine Peace Center head Rey Claro Casambre stressed.
Casambre added that given the poverty, injustice, and inequality plaguing many, “the people will continue to fight for a better Philippine society in all arenas and through all possible means” when their own government is not doing it for them.

He also downplayed the government’s recent success on the “Moro question”, calling many high-ranking officials “deluded”, not reading the Muslim rebels’ real message.

Casambre noted that Moro International Liberation Front (MILF) leaders “speak with cautious and guarded optimism, subtly warning that the completion of the normalization process—the final demobilization of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces—is contingent on enjoying in reality and not just on paper their right to self-determination”.

Impasse, not terminated

Fr. Reyes, Jr. also pointed out, the peace talks are just at an “impasse but not terminated”, since the negotiating panels of the Philippine government and the rebels have not been dissolved.

The peace talks between the government and the Reds have been stalled over issues on the compliance with or violation of bilateral agreements entered into by both parties, especially The Hague Joint Declaration, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

Fr. Reyes expressed the hope that despite differences, both parties will start tackling the pending second substantive agenda on socio-economic reforms.

“We want peace in our land. We want harmony among our people. We want progress for our country. These will come to pass only when we start working together, feeding on justice and righteousness,” the priest added. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

CBCP Website

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