THE Inglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) has launched the IFI Peacemakers in the Diocese of Cagayan de Oro, Malaybalay and Libertad to push for the continuation of the peace negotiations between the government and the communist rebels.
Bishop Felixberto Calang of IFI said people cannot leave the fate of the talks to the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP).
"Ang peace talks or peace process is owned by the people themselves kay karon man gud kung pasagdan ra nato ang NDF og GRP (Government of the republic of the Philippines), mag tinubaga sila aron maundang ang peace talks (and if we leave the NDF and the government with the peace talks, they will only exchange responces that can lead to the end of peace talks). At stake man para sa katawhan ang peace talks tungod kay motubag man ni sa gitawag na social and economic reform, mao na nga nag ingon ang Simbahan na (It is at stake as the peace talks can answer the social and economic reform, that’s why the church said that) it's better for us to form peace constituencies nga mo push forward sa peace talks," Calang said.
Calang added that as a stakeholder of the peace talks, the church see the peace talks as something for the people and not only for the NDF or for the government based on the issues discussed during the talks.
"Mao to nga niingon ang simbahan nga kung mao ni ang tuyo na kining mag peace talks aron nga ma transform ang atong social and economic situation, manguna niani ang simbahan (Thats why the church said if the objective of the peace talks is to transform our social and economic situation, the church should act first)," Calang said.
The bishop also said that their number one call is for President Rodrigo Duterte "to reflect upon his letter or the Proclamation 360 and reconsider it," adding that the best option that the President can do is an all out war against the communist rebels.
"Para sa IFI, atong gyud ipa reconsider sa Pangulo kini tungod kay ang option nga all out war dili lamang NPA, dili lamang ang mga rebelde ang mahimong biktima. Although intended ni didto sa mga rebelde, intended gyud ni para sa tanan. In other words, dili makalikay ang mga civilians niini (For the IFI, we wanted the President reconsider since the option of an all out war does not only involve the NPA, the rebels are not the only ones who will become victims of the war. Although it is intended for the rebels, the involvement of the civilians will be unavoidable)," Calang said.
On Thursday, November 23, President signed the Proclamation 360 declaring the termination of peace negotiations with the NDF-CPP-NPA.
The signing of the proclamation came after Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Jesus Dureza announced on Wednesday that the state peace negotiators would no longer push through with the peace talks with the communist leaders.
The IFI Bishop said he sees the President as someone who is passionate about the peace talks, adding that perhaps the people around him possibly influenced him into terminating the peace talks.
Calang also called out to the NDF to not accept the government's decision to terminate the peace talks since what the NDF wants is for the benefit of the people, which is the social and economic reform.
"In fact ang NDF, voluminous ang ilahang write ups sa social and economic reform. kung ang gobyerno pipila lang ka pages, i-times ten nimo na mao na ang resources gikan sa NDF. sa ato pa, kung imong basahon na naghisgot nga naay sa kapakanan, kaayuhan sa katawhan," Calang said.
IFI Peacemakers, according to Calang, is a national advocacy of the IFI which was established during the presidency of former President Fidel Ramos.
Calang said the Diocese of Malaybalay is for the Bukidnon province, Diocese of Libertad is for the western section of Misamis Oriental and the Diocese of Cagayan de Oro is for the Eastern portion of Misamis Oriental, Camiguin and Cagayan de Oro City.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on November 25, 2017.