AFTER withdrawing the city's operational assistance to the Army's 1003rd Brigade, Mayor Sara Duterte earned appreciation from church-based peace advocates under the Exodus for Justice and Peace (EJP).

The group said the local chief executive's move of pulling out support from the army's internal security operations (ISO) plan in the hinterlands surrounding the city and her preference to peace talks and social services is laudable and a good start to work on for peace.

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"We are happy to hear the ideal asserted by our city mayor. It coincides with our efforts to bring about just and lasting peace through peace talks and not militarization," the statement said.

Duterte announced Monday the pullout of the financial support to the anti-insurgency drive of the Armed Forces of Philippines saying that the counter insurgency strategy of the military is "combat heavy."

"We are grateful that our leader believes that to solve the root cause of insurgency, the problem should be addressed not through "combat heavy" operations' but through literacy program and developmental projects. It speaks of a leader who highly considers the respect for human rights," said Bp. Delfin Callao, convener of EJP.

EJP is an aggregation of church leaders, lawyers, and other human rights advocates who has been recently facilitating the safety release of prisoners-of-war in the region.

The group urged that the local government units should contribute to the efforts of ending the armed conflicts through supporting peace talks. (PR)