Civil society organizations today walked for peace from the EDSA People Power monument to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Friday to call on the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF) to return to the peace table.
The walk for peace was in line with the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) on March 16. The CARHRIHL is the first of the four substantive agenda items of the formal peace negotiations between the government and the CPP/NPA/NDF. The other substantive agenda items still left to be tackled are socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and end of hostilities and disposition of forces.
“We call on the GPH and the NDF to overcome the perceived obstacles and resume the formal peace negotiations in order to resolve the armed conflict by addressing its root causes,” members of the Pilgrims for Peace and Sulong CARHRIHL networks said in a statement.
GPH Monitoring Committee Chair Chito Gascon welcomed the CSOs at OPAPP and assured them of the government’s steadfast commitment to the peaceful resolution of the armed conflict with the CPP/NPA/NDF.
“Gusto ko lang po ipaabot sa inyo na nadidinig po namin ang inyong mga panawagan… patuloy po ang pamahalaan na hinahanap ang mga solusyon sa mga problema ng bayan at isa nga po dito yung usaping pangkapayapaan at paghahanap ng katarungan [I want to tell you that we are listening to your call… The government continues to find solutions to the nation’s problems including the peace talks and the search for justice],” he said.
“Mahalaga ang ginagawa ng mga grupong tulad ninyo na binubuo ng iba’t-ibang sektor… dahil pinapahayag ninyo ang kahalagahan ng patuloy na paninindigan para sa kapayapaan [What your group has been doing is vital because you are conveying the importance of standing up for peace],” he said.
“Panawagan ko po sa inyo na patuloy po kayong manindigan para sa kapayapaan nang sa gayon ay ang magkabilang panig ng gobyerno at ng NDF ay makahanap ng paraan na maiusad ulit ang usaping kapayapaan nang magkaroon tayo ng ganap na katarungan at kaunlaran sa ating bansa [I call on everyone to continue standing up for peace and see to it that the government and the NDF find a way to move the peace talks forward and achieve justice and development in our country],” he added.
Gascon also related that part of the Government’s efforts is to hold dialogues with CSOs from various sectors to discuss how the peace process can move again, and expressed his encouragement to the civil society organizations to participate in these activities in support of the GPH-CPP/NPA/NDF peace negotiations. The GPH Panel in a press release weeks before, has called on the general public to help support this peace table and help both sides come up with solutions to overcome the current impasse.