AN INDEPENDENT observer of the peace talks urges both the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) to "hold the fort" and not allow the martial law declaration to divide both parties' common quest for peace based on social justice.

In a statement, Bishop Felixberto Calang, main convenor of the Sowing the Seeds of Peace Mindanao (SSPM), said they "receive with apprehension" the sudden deferment of the supposed fifth round of the government and National Democratic Front (NDF) peace talks which was meant to start last May 21 in The Netherlands.

Calang believes the declaration of martial law adversely affected the peace process.

Calang slams the martial rule, saying it contradicts the common goal which is attaining long-term peace.

Calang said the declaration promotes further impunity in the adherence to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL).

Given the country's history, Calang said the martial rule is a harsh instrumentality to suppress human rights.

"However, we hope both parties can continue to find ways to dialogue and agree in the next few days, and find the middle ground to push socio-economic reforms forward," he said.

"We continue to express our expectations from the government that their prudent judgment to stay the course of peace will prevail, as we also call the NDF to sustain their commitment to the table of dialogue and the political settlement of the roots of conflict," Calang added.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on Tuesday after terror attacks broke in the Islamic City of Marawi.