CHURCH leaders in the country convene Friday for the three-day National Assembly of the Philippine Ecumenical Platform (Pepp) assembly.

Pepp is an initiative of church institutions promoting the resumption of the formal peace talks between the government and the communist-led National Democratic Front.

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Pepp is a platform of five church institutions/groups, namely, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP), Philippine Council of Evangelical Church (PCEC) and the Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF). It is a movement formed in 2007 that is working for a just and enduring peace.

The national assembly, with the theme "Strengthening Partnership for a Just and Enduring Peace", will discuss how the Pepp has performed in deepening and widening the peace constituency that addresses the armed conflict, and how to push for the resumption of formal peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (RP) and the NDF.

The opening rites will be held at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Brokenshire Resort and Convention Center, Ilang-Ilang Hall.

Representatives from both GRP and NDF peace panels will also discuss updates on the peace talks.

The Pepp delegation is headed by its co-chairs, Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, and Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz-Duremdes former General Secretary of the NCCP, and the head of the Pepp Secretariat, Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez of the EBF.

The national assembly is graced by representatives from the Norwegian Ecumenical Peace Platform (Nepp), a counterpart of the Pepp.

As its country Norway assists as a third party facilitator of the peace process, the Norwegian churches work with its ecumenical partners in the Philippines to support the peace process. (PR)