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PIA Press Release

PEPP supports resumption of peace talks

by Joseph B Zambrano

Baguio City (7 October) -- The Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP) favors the resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines(GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

In a press statement, the PEPP secretariat headed by the Most Reverend Deogracias S. I˝iguez Jr. said that they recognize the road to a just and lasting peace is complex but "not impossible to go through.

The grinding poverty and pervading suffering of the people, and the loss of lives because of unresolved conflicts hinder the attainment of genuine democracy but are solid motivations for the resumption of peace talks, it stated.

The group recognizes the work done by both parties to establish mutually agreed principles for peace negotiations.

"We especially commend the spirit and intent of the substantive agenda of peace talks, namely, the comprehensive agreements on: a) the respect of human rights and international humanitarian law ;b) social and economic reforms, political and social reforms; c)political and constitutional reforms; and d) the disposition of forces. We believe that these principled agenda emerged from the crucible and contain the and fundamental issues that need to be addressed by both parties if the road to genuine peace and justice is to be pursued," the statement read.

The PEPP, composed of the country's major religious groups, is calling the GRP and NDFP to fully implement the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). It is likewise asking the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) to convene the soonest time possible to address human rights violations.

The JMC should quickly address the numerous complaints of human rights violations as a result of the armed conflict, thePEPP added.

The church leaders pledged to mobilize their organizations to help and implement measures aimed to prevent human rights violations.

Meanwhile, Iman Bedejim Abdullah, one of the participants in the Baguio PEPP forum said that the Muslim community supports and encourage peace talks in order to achieve lasting peace.

Peace forums in different areas in the country is a venue where we get the thoughts and views of the people, Abdullah said. (PIA) [top]

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