Group pushes for resumption of GPH-NDFP peace talks

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Friday, July 18, 2014


FOLLOWING the series of rebel attacks in Mindanao that left more deaths, a multi-sectoral group composed of all peace advocates in the island is calling on the Philippine government (GPH) to resume peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Sowing the Seeds of Peace in Mindanao (SSPM), a multi-sectoral group advocating peace condemned the continuing bloody battles between the New People’s Army rebels (the armed wing of the NDFP), police and the military.

Bishop Felixberto Calang of Iglesia Filipina Independiente who is also the main convener of the SSPM calls for a moratorium on the bloodshed. He urges the stakeholders to sit on the negotiating table and talk on the resumption of the GPH-NDFP peace talks.

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"We denounce the continuing skirmishes between the revolutionary forces and the government as human casualties can't be ignored," Calang told Sun*Star Cagayan de Oro Thursday afternoon via phone.

Calang said the “inevitable consequences of the failure of the resumption of peace talks” are the civilians who are caught in the middle of the warring groups.

The Philippines is a signatory to the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and the Fourth Geneva Convention in which both seek to protect lives, especially of the civilians.

"Grabe ang tactical offensives sa NPA recently. Then the AFP would say the NPA is weakening," Calang furthered.

The repercussions of peace talks must be highlighted, as it will be more beneficial for the populace, he said.

"This will be a relevant action of the GPH and the NDFP since it will pave way to the social and economic reform of the country, so that the negotiations can move on to discuss political and constitutional reforms," Calang added.

In the website of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP), GPH chief negotiator Alexander Padilla said: “There has been no formal notification of peace talk to the government up until today”.

The proper approach, Padilla said, would have been for the NDF to inform the Royal Norwegian Government, the third party facilitator of the peace negotiations since 2001.

Last Tuesday, 21 lives were lost to attacks in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur and Quezon, Bukidnon.

Other clashes in the month of June and July have also been recorded in the provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay, Surigao del Norte, and Misamis Oriental.

Calang furthered that SSPM is open to become a third party body to conduct an independent investigation of the incident and pin down accountability and due remedies.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 18, 2014.

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