As a social development and advocacy network pushing for peace and development, we, in Philippine Misereor Partnership (PMPI) welcome President Duterte’s announcement for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace talks on April 4. This is another door opening for peaceful resolution of armed conflict and another path to ensure that violence in communities can be managed as a way to achieve development.
From our long experience in peace-building, even as we know that this peace table and process is tortuous and full of uncertainties, we firmly believe that a continuing dialogue between the NDFP and the GRP is still the best option that will ultimately facilitate peace and social justice for all.
We hope that the President will not waver anymore on his position to pursue peace. We also hope that the leadership of the CPP-NPA-NDFP will not continue to demand compliance to pre-conditions and to patiently chase the path of a peaceful dialogue to push their so-called dreams for the people.
We pray that both parties listen to one another and bring in their sincere hearts and intentions to finally agree on substantive issues that will create visible impacts to the lives of Filipino people who are often at the receiving end of this war. We implore both parties to listen to the cry of ordinary people for peace and to stop and mitigate violence in their communities due to this conflict. We also appeal to the sensibilities of both parties to hear the yearning of people for a genuine development of local communities.
We embrace and beseech an attitude of openness from both parties – to forego preconditions, impose strict timelines, and faithfully and fully address “violations” or “snags” in the peace table without trash-talking each other. This whole process of peace dialogue even the language of both parties should manifest peace.
We strongly clamor that both parties, put at the center of the dialogue the injustices done to conflict-affected communities and individuals and listen to the sufferings of all families that are victims of this war. Listening to each other is one path. Listening to the conflict affected communities and victims is another. These we believe will usher-in a long and lasting peace and deepen our collective resolve to pursue the path of peace, betterment and progress.
For the success of this peace talk, we pray that the “Peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 4:7)