Church Leaders Call for Resumption of GPH-NDFP Formal Talks
Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), the largest ecumenical network of church leaders in the country is among groups calling for the resumption of peace negotiations between the Philippines government and the National Democratic Front, the umbrella organization of Communist groups in the country.
On Sept. 21 the group marked United Nations Day of Peace with a mass at the Malate Catholic Church in Manila. PEPP co-chair Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro said the Mass that day when the Philippines also commemorates then president Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law (1972-1981), PEPP media reported.
Archbishop Ledesma in his message said, “On this historic day, when the United Nations declared the right to peace, and as we recall the long war that has raged in our country, we call on the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to return to the negotiating table to address the substantive issues that remain as the root cause of armed conflict in our country”.
September 21 has added significance for Filipinos because “it marks the anniversary of the imposition of martial law (1972-1981) which caused many people suffering,” the archbishop said.
“Un-peace during martial law and the challenge of peace building still continues as an element of our national life,” Archbishop Ledesma noted.
After the mass, members of the PEPP unfurled a streamer in front of the church calling for the resumption of the formal peace talks and rang bells to call attention to their appeal.