Category Archives: Statements
“Stand Firm! Persevere! Proclaim the Gospel of Peace!” Statement of the 2nd Ecumenical Church Leaders’ Summit on the GPH-NDFP Peace Negotiations
Betania Retreat House, Lahug, Cebu City
February 6-8, 2012
“This is what Yahweh asks of you, only this: that you act justly, that you love tenderly, that you walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
We are Church leaders from five major religious federations*. We came together to reflect and discuss the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). We listened to updates from both sides regarding the current status of the negotiations. There are positive prospects that bolster our hopes for the talks to continue but there are certain issues brought out that may hinder the process of the said talks.
One such issue, which is at the crux of the recent impasse, concerns the detained consultants of the NDFP that they claim are covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). The NDFP called for a postponement of the talks last June 2011 to give time for the GPH to release the consultants. While the GPH already released some consultants, the NDFP is demanding that the GPH honor the February 21, 2011 Joint Statement by releasing most if not all consultants covered by the JASIG. The GPH recently stated that until the reciprocal working committees on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) shall have completed the common tentative agreement on social and economic reforms, the talks may not resume. They also stated that there will be no formal talks on issues concerning the JASIG. This in turn was seen by the NDFP as a move to scuttle the negotiations. We deeply understand the concerns of both parties.
To affirm our commitment in support of the formal peace talks and to break the current impasse, we call on the government to release in recognizance under the collective custodial guarantee of the member churches of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform, the NDFP consultants who are willing to be under the sanctuary of churches. This is our way of proclaiming the gospel of peace. We call on the GPH and the NDFP to consider this offer. As Church people, we recognize that the road to a just and lasting peace is complex. But we persevere because we are certain that nothing is impossible with God and especially if we take the interests of the people at heart. We believe that there are times when we need to dare and innovate, seize the Kairos moment, so that the formal talks may continue.
We pray that this offer from us will pave the way for both parties to continue to work on the mutually agreed principles or framework upon which the peace negotiations are built. We are earnestly looking forward to the next substantive agenda, the CASER, so that the fundamental issues that bring about unpeace will be addressed.
We affirm our prophetic voices for peace and take to heart our people’s longing for the elusive peace that will create the conditions for an equitable and sustainable development of our country and people.
We fervently ask you all to join us in prayers and solidarity in this quest for a future worthy of our children.
February 8, 2012
*Catholic Bishop’s 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 Churches (PCEC) and the Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum (EBF).
For the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform:
Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, SJ, DD Ms. Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz-Duremdes
Co-chairperson, PEPP Co-chairperson, PEPP
Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr., DD
Head, PEPP Secretariat
Ms. Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz-Duremdes
Co-chairperson, PEPP Co-chairperson, PEPP
We, members of Women Engaged in Action on 1325 (United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325), a national network of women in human rights, women, and peace organizations, express our unequivocal rejection of war and military solution to the crisis arising from the October 18 tragedy in Al-barka, Basilan.
Roughly 30,000 civilians from affected communities in Basilan, Zamboanga Sibugay and Lanao provinces are now scattered in various evacuation camps while others seek refuge in homes of families and relatives who live away from the conflict areas. Majority of the internally displaced persons are women and children.
While We Act 1325 commends President Aquino for issuing a strict order on the primacy of the peace process, and the MILF for staying the course of the peace process, we ask the government and the MILF to:
1. Resume in earnest formal negotiations on the substantive agenda;
2. Take into account any violations of the ceasefire agreement and related mechanisms such as the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) guidelines and make the results of investigation available to the public;
3. Institute binding and strict measures that will compel adherence or compliance to all agreements forged between parties in conflict;
4. Respect the civilian character of evacuation camps and other defined safe spaces;
5. Uphold the government’s commitment to UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (and its succeeding resolutions) to ensure that women’s special needs in situations of conflict are prioritized and appropriately addressed, and their contributions valued and recognized;
6. Provide protection from sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence, especially in evacuation camps; and
7. Involve and engage the participation of more women in formal and informal peace negotiations or processes, as well as in relief and rehabilitation services in affected areas.
As women, we are alarmed that our voices and efforts for peace seem to be drowned by the loud drums of war. We are dismayed by statements from politicians, journalists, media and even some bishops that frame the MILF as “the enemy” rather than a committed party to the peace negotiations and even ceasefire agreement. They question the peace policy and established processes of peacebuilding and confidence-building based on government’s “six paths to peace”.
Unfortunately, they are playing to attitudes of machismo as well as ethnic and religious discrimination that are still dominant in our society.
We ask you to stop depicting the other as the enemy. Stop sowing hate. The costs of war increase when anti-peace sentiments and malicious statements are peddled this way. Hence, we appeal to all concerned to work instead in diffusing tension by promoting communication and understanding between parties in conflict.
War solves nothing. WOMEN DEMAND ALL-OUT PEACE!
ONE MILLION VOICES FOR PEACE CAMPAIGN GAINS INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
AMID CHALLENGES TO THE PEACE PROCESS
The campaign to gather considerable citizen support to the peace talks between the Goverment of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has gained added momentum with the endorsement of the campaign by the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC).
The public opinion backlash to the recent encounter in Albarka, Basilan and the continuing impasse over the implementation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) emphasize the need to mobilize citizen support for dialogue and consensus building.
The One Million Voices for Peace in the Philippines Campaign aims to gather the support of people from all over the Philippines and the rest of world, to signify their desire for an end to the conflict in the country and present these to the conflict actors to press them to work for a peaceful, just and comprehensive political settlement to the armed conflicts in the Philippines.
GPPAC is a global movement that seeks to leverage civil society initiatives and press governments and rebel movements to utilize dialogue as the more sustainable mode of resolving the roots of armed conflicts. It works to strengthen civil society networks for peace and security by linking local, national, regional, and global levels of action. It engages with governments, the UN system and regional organizations to create policies and programs that promote peace building. More GPPAC information is available at: www.gppac.net
Among the personalities who have signified support to the peace campaign are:
Chair of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) and Executive Director of the West Africa Network on Peacebuilding (WANEP)
Prof. Andres Serbin
Chair of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
Chair of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, USA
Peter Van Tuil
Executive Director, GPPAC Foundation
3P Human Security, USA
Africa Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
Non-Violence International, Russia
Lia van Broekhoven
Co-Director, Reflecting on Peace Practice Project, CDA, USA
Bibi van Ginkel
Fellow, International Centre for Counter Terrorism, Netherlands
3P Human Security, USA
Consultant, Human Security Unit, UN
Analyst, Conflict Prevention and Recovery Team, UN
A website for the One Million Voices for Peace allows for the “voices” to be expressed in a variety of ways: including your name and email on the form provided, subscribing to the OMV4P YouTube channel, “likes” from Facebook accounts, and following the campaign on Twitter. Please visit the One Million Voices for Peace in Mindanao website, and add your name to the “voices” calling for peace in Mindanao.
Mayroong dalawang malalaking armadong tunggalian sa Pilipinas na nagsimula sa maagang bahagi ng dekada 1970.
– Ang pakikibaka ng Communist Party of the Philippines- New Peoples’ Army- National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) laban sa pamahalaan ng Pilipinas
– Ang pakikibaka ng Bangsamoro para sa kasarinlan o Right to Self Determination, na sinimulan ng Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) at pinagpapatuloy sa ngayon ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
Upang maresolba ang mga nasabing tunggalian, ang pangunahing pamamaraan ng pamahalaan ng Pilipinas (Government of the Philippines or GPH) ay peace talks o usapang pangkapayapaan. Sinasabayan din ito ng mga programang reporma at pangkaunlaran sa mga apektadong lugar. Gumagampit pa rin ng pwersang militar and GPH ayon sa Internal Peace and Security Plan ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Ang kabuuang stratehiyang pangkapayapaan at seguridad ng kasalukuyang administrasyon ay nakalathala sa “Chapter 9 Peace and Security” ng Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016.
MESSAGE OF PEACE (to KILOS)
On this Day of International of Peace, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) through its peace panel pays tribute to those working to build a better future as well as those making their voices heard to strengthen peace and justice amongst fellowmen. Indeed, they are among the best of mankind!
On this day too, we make manifest our continuing commitment to the peaceful settlement of the Moro Question and the armed conflict in Mindanao; and also to renew our call to the Philippine Government to be serious in our negotiation so that just peace, the everlasting and real one, shall come to this region and the entire country. This is the best gift that we can pass on to the generations after us.
We take pride in sharing with the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), and Kilos Kapayapaan at Katarungan (KILOS) this small way as part of the larger global efforts. And together, we make this happen!
Chairman, MILF Peace Panel
MESSAGE OF PEACE (to GenPeace)
Everybody, especially the weak, cries out for peace. Still there is still no peace in many parts of the world. Would this deter us from yearning and working for it? Certainly, no! On the contrary, we will strive to have peace in our midst at whatever cost and for how long it takes. This is a solemn commitment!
Let us keep this goal of peace clear and simple. Let us work for peace!
The MILF Peace Negotiating Panel joins the Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute (GZOPI) and the Generation Peace (GenPeace) in their celebration for Peace Day 2011 with the theme, “Kapayapaan, Ating Karapatan” (Peace is Our Right).
The meaning of peace, a real one, is more relevant — and intense — in the case of the Moros in Mindanao. For how many centuries, they have never known or experienced that thing we call peace in their entire life. But this deprivation will not stop them from working for it; in fact, this emboldens them even more.
But for peace to be more assuredly lasting there must be justice. Peace without justice is not what we are celebrating on September 21. The GZOPI, GenPeace, and MILF, I am sure, are one in this great mission.
(Sgd) Mohagher Iqbal
MILF Peace Panel
Quezon City, 21 September 2011 — Thousands from different civil society groups celebrated peace day nationwide on September 21, the UN-declared International Day of Peace, Nonviolence and Ceasefire.
The youth network, Generation Peace (GenPeace) spearheaded celebrations in 7 key areas nationwide, in Cebu, Nueva Vizcaya, Iloilo, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Quezon City. Eight indigenous peoples groups also conducted peace rituals in their communities ranging from Sierra Madre in Luzon to Mt. Apo in Mindanao.
Debbie Cabanag, who participated in the celebrations for the past three years, said “Peace Day is remembered globally but what sets the Philippine celebration apart is that the date coincides with the commemoration of the Declaration of Martial Law. This is also why our national theme for this year is ‘Kapayapaan, ating karapatan’ (Peace is our right). We are highlighting our collective right to peace.”
In a message read throughout the celebrations nationwide, President Noynoy Aquino stated that, “The government pledges solidarity to this cause, in accordance with the conviction that the Filipino people’s progress is founded on an environment of peace and stability.”
Mohagher Iqbal, head of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace panel also declared in a message that the MILF will make “manifest our continuing commitment to the peaceful settlement of the Moro Question and the armed conflict in Mindanao.” He further stated that peace is “the best gift we can pass on to the generations after us.”
“This year is the biggest celebration ever because the different peace groups converged to have a common call for a day of ceasefire and support for the peace talks by simultaneously launching the One Million Voices for Peace Campaign nationwide.” Karen Tanada, co-convener of the Kilos para sa Kapayapaan and Katarungan mentioned.
Last Monday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines declared a suspension of military operations for the celebration of the peace day.
The Quezon City celebration is done annually at the Quezon Memorial Circle. This year the event featured sports events, fun run, amazing race challenges and an obstacle relay race. Messages of peace from youth, women, indigenous peoples, government, military, faith and nongovernment groups were delivered.
Full transcript of the President Aquino message and the Chair Mohagher Iqbal (MILF) message can be found here.
For additional information or a sample copy, contact: Nikki Delfin, Generation Peace Youth Network (GenPeace) 09178660405, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://youthpeacenetwork.wordpress.com/
September 01, 2011
KILOS PARA SA KAPAYAPAAN AT KATARUNGAN (KILOS!)
Peace is our Right: Declare a Peace Day Ceasefire!
A Citizens’ Call for a September 21 Ceasefire
We—peace advocates from diverse political, cultural, faith and social backgrounds—urge the Government of the Philippines and the CPP-NPA-NDF to declare a 24-hour ceasefire on September 21. Especially on that date, the ongoing ceasefire between the GPH and the MILF must be upheld.
We support the peace processes and affirm our collective right to peace – peace that is not just the absence of war but also the absence of structural violence. We believe that peace is freedom from fear, want and humiliation.
We draw on the UN-declared International Day of Peace and Non-Violence to highlight the urgent need for peace. The UN General Assembly resolution was passed unanimously in 1981 to give way to a Global Day of Ceasefire. Until now, an annual peace day ceasefire has never been realized in the Philippines.
As we appeal for a ceasefire day, we ask for a million supporters for the peace processes through the One Million Voices for Peace Campaign (OMV). From August to December the OMV campaign will launch photo petitions, Facebook likes, fun runs, local mobilizations and celebrations, film screenings, sports events, indigenous rituals and forums to be held in different communities, regions and key cities nationwide.
What difference can one day of ceasefire make? Clearly, it is the difference between life and death at the battlefield. But more importantly, a day of peace is a ray of hope for the Filipino people. It is a day that makes us all believe that—in the brief moment when guns are silenced—peace is possible. A day of ceasefire gives us a glimpse of what we expect to attain in our lifetimes, a just and sustainable peace… freedom from violence in whatever form.
The Filipino people can take a day of respite from all the violence and take the time to reflect on and commit to peace. They can be nourished by a day of ceasefire for as the struggle for towards peace continues thereafter.
WE SUPPORT THE PEACE PROCESSES. WE WANT A JUST AND LASTING PEACE. DECLARE CEASEFIRE ON PEACE DAY!
Kilos para sa Kapayapaan at Katarungan (KILOS!) is the broadest coming together of the Philippine civil society organizations working toward a just and lasting peace in the country. KILOS! Is a concerted effort at engaging the different stakeholders talking at the peace tables and the larger Philippine society. Its main convenors are network of networks from peace civil society organizations: Mindanao Peaceweavers, Boses Mindanaw, Waging Peace Philippines – GPPAC Southeast Asia, Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform, Indigenous Peoples Network, and the Sulong CARHRIHL Network.
(NOTE: Please contact the GenPeace secretariat (email@example.com or +6324266064) if you would like to join the call for a September 21 Peace Day Ceasefire) Read the rest of this entry
State of the Nation Address
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
To the Congress of the Philippines
[English translation of the speech delivered at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives,
Batasan Pambansa Complex, Quezon City on July 25, 2011]
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.; Vice President Jejomar Binay; former Presidents Fidel Valdez Ramos and Joseph Ejercito Estrada; Chief Justice Renato Corona and the honorable Justices of the Supreme Court; honorable members of the diplomatic corps; members of the House of Representatives and the Senate; Local Government Officials; members of our Cabinet; members of the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police; to my fellow servants of the Filipino people;
And to my beloved countrymen, my Bosses:
I stood before you during my inauguration and promised: we would do away with the use of the wang-wang. This one gesture has become the symbol of change, not just in our streets, but even in our collective attitude. Read the rest of this entry
Peace is still elusive for the Philippines. The country is still wrought by a forgotten
war spanning approximately four decades. GenPeace seeks to educate and call to action
the young generation to help put and end to the armed violence by supporting the peace
The International Day of Peace, celebrated every 21st of September, is one opportunity
to raise awareness and support for peace from the youth in the country. This short
documentary showcases some of the local realities and peace initiatives of GenPeace and
its partner- and member-organizations.
Approx. 10 minutes, Filipino with English subtitles
Edited by: King Mark Baco
Produced and Written by: Generation Peace Youth Network