By PAULINE SAGALONGOS
SANTIAGO CITY — Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), with the United Church of Christ Philippines (UCCP), Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Cagayan Valley, headed the Walk for Peace cum Peace Summit last July 26 at Reina Mercedes, Isabela. They demanded for the government to continue the negotiations for peace and to end martial law in Mindanao.
As reported last July 19, President Rodrigo Duterte warned that he will no longer pursue the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP) unless the NPA will stop attacking government troops in Mindanao.
However, church representative Rt. Rev. Jerry Sagun, Bishop of Diocese of Santiago says,” The talks on peace are of essential matter that should be known and understood by the masses, especially by the church people, because satisfaction in life cannot be achieved until the calls of the people are not yet addressed.”
In a statement, Joma Sison, NDFP Chief Consultant, also explained that there will be no need for peace talks if the President will continue his martial rule and mass murder as a way of solving the ills of the country. He also added that peace talks pave the way to address the roots of armed conflict.
Rev. Fr. Christopher Ablon, national program coordintator of IFI, explains that the current military rule in Mindanao is worse than before due to aerial bombardments in Marawi and forced evacuation of many people. He added that his fellow residents in Mindanao say no to Martial Law and its extension.
The church also calls for the release of Bishop Carlo Morales who was arrested along with NDFP Consultant, Rommel Salinas, last May 12 at Osamiz City for allegedly possessing illegal firearms and a grenade.
The said organizations also signed a Declaration of Commitment which declares their unity to push for real, just, and lasting peace.
More than 300 peace advocates participated in the said event. # nordis.net