Norway to Host Philippine Peace Talks
Norway to Host Philippine Peace Talks
The Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP) released the statement (below) of the Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The statement indicates the PEPP is sending a six member delegation to Utrecht and Oslo on the first week of September. The topic of discussion is the concern of the Filipino church leaders’ welfare and will focus on additional stalled peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front. Norway is host the peace talks.
Economic Justice for the Sake of Lasting Peace
Convened by the Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF) to pray and reflect on the current state of our nation, we, bishops, priests, pastors and lay
leaders from different churches and ecumenical bodies, steadfastly affirm our unequivocal stance for just and lasting peace.
We are witnesses to the continuing state of “un-peace” in the country today. We are outraged that amid the serious socioeconomic and
political crises besetting the country, the highest government officials engage in corruption, self-aggrandizement and political maneuvering; and collude with big foreign and local businesses (e.g., oil and mining firms as well as a rice cartel) to earn huge profits in gross disregard of the welfare and interest of the people.
As shepherds of our flocks, we are aware that many of our people have lost their hope in our national and political leaders, but we know in
our hearts that they have never lost hope in God. As The Good Shepherd who gives his life for the sheep, Jesus calls us to commit ourselves to take concrete steps to address the state of “un-peace” in our country.
We long for a kind of peace that is based on justice. There will be no real peace when our people live in hunger and misery, when the tillers remain landless, when workers do not receive just wages, when urban and rural communities are dislocated to cater to big business interests. There will be no peace as long as the people’s fundamental socioeconomic rights are subordinated if not utterly neglected in favor of power, profits and privileges for the rich few.
In this context, we join our people’s call for:
1. Resumption of peace talks aimed at attaining a just and lasting peace by addressing the social, economic and political roots of armed conflicts and the full implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
2. Removal of value-added tax (especially on oil products), an unjust and onerous International Monetary Fund imposition meant to ensure our
country’s capacity to service foreign debts, even as it has further increased the unbearable tax burden of the Filipino people.
3. Repeal of the oil deregulation law—a law that ensures government’s full support for transnational corporations’ profiteering (on oil prices) which has pushed deeper our people into abject poverty.
4. A halt to the militarization of the countryside, which makes the people, especially women and children, victims of state power and has resulted in numerous cases of human rights violations.
5. Immediate approval and implementation nationwide of the proposed P125 across-the-board wage increase.
6. An effective and genuine land reform program that addresses the longstanding problem of landlessness among poor and marginalized Filipino farmers.
With a vision of a Philippine society enjoying the fruits of genuine democracy and free from dehumanizing poverty, we add our voices to those of all peace-loving Filipinos in demanding economic justice for the sake of peace.
Rev. Deograsias S. In’guez, D.D. and Bishop Solito k. Toqquerro, UMC
Co-Chairs for the Ecumenical Bishops Forum
Philippine Daily Inquirer
United Church of Christ in the Philippines