BONTOC, MOUINTAIN PROVINCE -- Bilateral ceasefire between the New People's Army (NPA) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was called by the Church of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines (EDNP) during their convention last month.

This as President Rodrigo Duterte called for a memorandum of understanding on what should be done when ceasefire fails as peace talks resumed between the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA) and the government.

The diocesan assembly also called on peace talks to focus on the substantial agenda of social, economic, and political reforms to address the roots causes of armed conflict.

Last week, Duterte again ordered the continuation of peace talks after he terminated the peace negotiations following bloody fights between the NPA and the AFP in Mindanao and northern Luzon that violated an earlier ceasefire between the two warring forces.

The peace talks last year arrived at some substantial gains including agreement to form a bilateral working term on the reciprocal working group to accelerate drafting of the comprehensive agreement on socio economic reforms (CASER) and signing of the supplementary agreement for the operationalization of the joint monitoring committee for the implementation of the comprehensive agreement on the respect for human rights and international humanitarian law (CARHRIHL).

The church convention in their 46th assembly forwarded it is imperative for the EDNP having witnessed the ill effects of armed conflict to members and congregations want the realization of peace in the mountains. (Gina Dizon)