ArchivesOctober 2010Ecumenical group tackles peace talks

Ecumenical group tackles peace talks


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A call to the GRP and the NDFP to resume peace talks was the focus of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP) Dumaguete Consultation held Oct. 13-15.

The PEPP is a national movement in the Philippines created by the church leaders of various denominations to generate interest and mobilize support for the pursuit of peace talks between the GRP and the NDFP.{{more}}

The Dumaguete Consultation brought together church leaders and workers from eight different denominations and three groups from the academe in Negros. The three-day consultation provided an overview of the conflict situation on Negros Island and the urgency of calling for peace talks.

From all indications, the GRP combatants, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, has strengthened its presence on Negros Island, while at the same the NDFP combatants, the New Peoples Army, has also shown an increase in strength. The situation has led to an increase in the incidences of violence and has been particularly difficult on civilians caught in the crossfire.

Peace talks between the GRP and the NDFP trace its beginnings to the administration of President Ramos when, in September 1992, The Hague Joint Declaration was signed during the peace talks held in the Netherlands. This important document defined the rules of engagement, and established the substantive agenda that would be pursued step by step by both parties through negotiations. The first of the substantive agenda was signed on March 16, 1998, and the signed agreement was named the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights & International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

A number of circumstances since 1998 have hindered the continuing peace talks and leaving the other three substantive agenda unresolved. The remaining three in the substantive agenda are: 1) The Comprehensive Agreement on Social Economic Reforms; 2) Political and Constitutional Reforms; and 3) End of Hostilities and Disposition of Forces.

The Dumaguete Consultation released a Statement entitled, Negotiate Peace Now, calling upon both the GRP and the NDFP to: Resume formal peace talks abiding by and respecting all commitments of The Hague Joint Declaration with confidence building measures and without preconditions; resume formal peace talks to pursue the next substantive agenda on a Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms, and the subsequent steps as defined in The Hague Joint Declaration; pursue the intent and terms of the CARHRIHL; and convene the Joint Monitoring Committee immediately to address the issue of all extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and other violations of human rights and international humanitarian law (Muriel Montenegro, Justice and Peace Center )

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