Cotabato City: The government peace panel negotiating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF) on Wednesday called for greater support of the people to advance the peace process while putting an end to the armed hostilities on the ground especially here in Mindanao.
Both panels issued separate statements during the observance of the 10th National Peace Consciousness Month this September.
“We join the rest of the peace-loving Filipinos in the celebration of the National Peace Consciousness Month. It is in this time of the year when we hark back to the milestones our people have collectively built in the pursuit of a just and lasting peace in Mindanao and the rest of the country. This is also an opportune time to reflect on what has made these achievements possible and what still needs to be done to realize our peace goals,” the GPH panel for MILF talks said.
“Behind every triumph was a peace constituency who were there with us, encouraging, praying, and taking steps to ensure that the GPH-MILF peace talks will move forward,” it added. “It is the support of the people tired of war and desirous of peace that propelled the peace process and made possible its successes. Together with your support and our collective resolve we will show that no challenge is insurmountable to a people who, no matter how diverse and different, work together towards one aspiration.”
The panel also appealed to Filipinos, especially the Bangsamoro people, to participate in the making of yet another milestone with the imminent signing of the GPH-MILF Comprehensive Agreement this year.
On the other hand, the GPH panel in talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF renewed calls to hold dialogues “for an end to violence on the ground so we can together build the peace that we all aspire for.”
“With our people, we share the urgency of ending the armed hostilities to give way to development, especially in conflict-affected areas, which are the poorest and most deprived communities in the country,” it said.
“On Peace Consciousness Month, we join our people in reminding the CPP that armed violence has no place in a society where there is ample democratic space for everyone to peacefully pursue reforms and contribute to social change,” the panel added.
“Instead of violence, let us build peace. Instead of belligerent statements, let us put on the table ideas and strategies for building meaningful consensus that will put an end to armed hostilities.”
Amid the ongoing impasse in the formal talks and the recent closure of the special track between the government and the CPP/NPA/NDF, the GPH panel insisted that the “people deserve no less” than peace.
“We continue to believe that if we listen to our people’s aspirations and act accordingly, lasting peace is still possible in spite of stumbling blocks in the peace process,” it said.