Duterte urged to resume peace talks

SEVERAL peace advocates in Mindanao appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to proceed with the peace negotiation between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), citing that the suffering of the affected individuals due to all-out war is already a "compelling reason" to do so.

Bishop Felixberto Calang of Sowing the Seeds of Peace, in a press conference on Friday at UCCP Haran, urged the commander-in-chief to continue with the peace talks and to "leave a legacy of peace" to end the decades-long insurgency problem that has been causing armed hostilities.

"We will persist in our call for the continuation of the GRP-NDFP peace talks as long as it takes" Calang said.

Among other social movements present during the event were the members of Exodus for Justice and Peace, Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform, Sister's Association in Mindanao, and various other organizations.

The families of the Prisoners of War (Pows), who are members of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippines National Police (PNP) who are held captive by the New People's Army (NPA) as well as kin of the victims of alleged extrajudicial killing (EJK) and displaced citizens due to armed conflict were also in attendance.

"We believe that these are compelling reasons for the talks to continue and so we would like to give them space here today for their voices to be heard by the President," he added.

The peace negotiation between the two has already gained significant success through the series of peace talks under President Duterte. Calang said that the peace talks during the Duterte administration is the most substantive in a relatively short span of time.

The six years of the Aquino presidency and the eight years of the Arroyo government accomplished less than what Duterte achieved in just six months, Calang said, thus, proving the latter's sincerity.

Calang said the government should not let the efforts of the negotiating panel and the affected individuals go to waste. He also underscored the root causes of the armed struggle perpetrated by the rebels who demand for genuine change.

"May all these efforts converge to create greater confidence building, mutual trust, and a common direction for both parties to seek a negotiated political settlement and achieve a peace that is based on social justice, enduring and beneficial to the Filipino people," he said.

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