STANDPOINT | A Vote for peace

May. 05, 2016

Statement of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform

The Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP)*, the largest ecumenical formation of church leaders in the country today, call on the people to vote for peace.

Voting for peace means choosing candidates who will work for a just and enduring peace. Candidates who do not only pay lip service to peace but those who have a clear track record of addressing the challenges of social justice and the need for fundamental socio-economic reforms that will address the issues of poverty and inequity – the roots of the armed conflict in the country.

Voting for peace means choosing candidates who are supportive of the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and that of the Peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as a viable way to solve the situation of unpeace in our midst.    Principled negotiations by both parties can help end the decades-long armed conflict in the country.

Voting for peace means choosing candidates who show their sincerity to address the roots of the armed conflict – poverty, landlessness, inaccessibility to services and inequitable distribution of resources – especially, even during times when they are not courting our votes.

As peace advocates, we ask the electorate to deeply discern from among the candidates in order to make an informed choice, if they are truly working for peace. Let us choose candidates who view public service as a means to work for the greater good for our people and not to enrich one-self through the public coffers.   Let us unite against those who will subvert the people’s democratic will to freely choose our leaders because of grave threats or financial opportunism.

Let us pray and work for a credible and peaceful elections and safeguard the sanctity of our votes.

Let our faith in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, move us as we make our way to the poll centers. We have the power to ensure that peace is at the center of this democratic exercise. Let us remember: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matt 5:9)

* Note: The PEPP is a platform for five church institutions/groups, namely, the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP), Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) and the Ecumenical Bishops’ Forum (EBF), in working for a just and enduring peace by supporting the peace process in the Philippines starting with the call for the resumption of the formal peace talks between the GPH-NDFP. The statement is issued and signed by Co-chairperson of PEPP, Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, S.J., D.D; National President of PCEC, Bishop Noel A. Pantoja; General Secretary of NCCP, Rev. Fr. Rex B. Reyes; Co-chairperson of the PEPP, Bishop Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr., D.D. and Sr. Mary John M. Mananzan, OSB of the AMRSP.

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