CHURCH leaders from the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) are again calling for the resumption of peace talks between the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

The renewed calls for peace were made during a forum Thursday, June 11, as part of IFI's 12th Mindanao Clergy Convention held at IFI, Bulua Parish from June 8 to 12.

"We cannot afford to set aside the gains made during past talks,” IFI Bishop Felixberto Calang said.

Calang said the IFI will not cease to call for the resolution of the more than four decades-old insurgency.

But peace negotiators are not likely to come back to the negotiating table soon.

Jurgette Honculada of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP) said talks could only resume if the other party will set aside their preconditions, calling these “impractical.”

"If the impractical demands of the communist party continues, (then there will be) no peace talks. But the government is always open for resumption of peace talks," Honculada, a member of the Government Peace Negotiating Panels in talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF, said.

It has been two years since talks between the government and the CPP-NPA-NDF collapsed with the CPP-NPA-NDF demanding as a precondition to the peace talks the release of a number of its high-level consultants by the government. The leftist group is also demanding the stop of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ counter insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, among others.

The Aquino administration has flatly rejected the imposition of any form of precondition for the resumption of peace talks.

But Church leaders continue to be hopeful that the talks would resume.

"We will not stop, the church is exploring ways and solutions to help resolve the issue," Calang said.