AN APPEAL-STATEMENT URGING THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHITIPPINES TO CONTINUE THEIR PEACE NEGOTIATIONS

AN APPEAL-STATEMENT URGING THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES AND THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES TO CONTINUE THEIR PEACE NEGOTIATIONS

We, the United Church Workers Organization-North Luzon Jurisdiction of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, from nine conferences within the Cordillera, Cagayan Valley and the llocos Region gathered in UCCP Bulalacao, Mankayan, Benguet this February 2l-24,2O17; after our prayerful and collective study on the peace situation of our country seeing through the lens of our faith in Jesus Christ, would like to convey to both parties our following discernment:

Truly that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace {lsaiah 9:6) and he leaved His peace to us (John L4:271. Peace is God’s covenant with His people. Peace is God’s ultimate purpose for His people and God desires that people shall experience it. (Zechariah 9:10). As children of God, we are called by our Lord to be peacemakers.

1. Historically, peace is very elusive to the Filipino people until now and we are fully convinced that genuine and lasting peace will not reign until and unless the root causes of social unrest are addressed.

2. As peacemakers, we praise God because of the peace initiative of the Duterte Administration that has been positively responded by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. lt has been noteworthy for both parties their willingness to look for avenues of peace. The re-affirmation of their previous agreement their respective unilateral ceasefire declarations, the release of NDF peace consultants by the GRP and their openness to continue their formal talks are sincere acts towards peace.

3. We lament however on the recent development of the negotiation – the termination of the peace talks by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. This resulted to the cancellation of the Joint Agreement on Security and lmmunity Guarantees (JASIG) by the GRP and resurgence of war between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the New People’s Army. This will surely continue to endanger the lives of our people especially the poor communities in the countryside.

As peacemakers,
1. We appeal to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to re-consider his decision. Mr. President, many of your people will severely suffer if war continues. We believe that you are a person of peace and your administration is committed for the establishment of peace based on justice. Allow your negotiators to be back in the negotiating table and let government authorities observe the provisions of the JASIG.

2. We likewise appeal to the NDFP not to depart from the peace negotiation. Your sincerity to the peace talks is highly expected by the people. Avoidance from any unnecessary act that would forestall the talk will surely accelerate the negotiation and will strengthen the trust and confidence between you and the GRP.

3. We appeal to both parties to go back to the negotiating table, come up with an agreement on bilateral ceasefire and sincerely explore all available ways to accelerate the talk until all the agreed four substantial agenda are taken up in accordance with all the previous agreements and unities forged.

Lastly, we remain hopeful that just and lasting peace shall reign on us; when the new heaven and new earth shall come; where “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore…” (Revelation 272 4bl)

In the presence of God and the community, we affix our signatures this 23rd day of February 2017 at UCCP Bulalacao, Mankayan, Benguet

Please click on the link to download the file: NLJA-UCWO Statement

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