The Bishop of Northern Philippines in the Episcopal Church of the Philippines, the Rt Revd Brent Harry Wanas Alawas, has called for the resumption of peace talks between the National Democratic Front (NDFP) and the Government of the Philippines.
Bishop Alawas made his comments at a peace rally earlier this month. Thousands of students, employees from the government and non-government organizations and many others marched around Bontoc, the central town of the Mountain Province, before converging at the Mountain Province Plaza for an Indignation Rally denouncing the recent New People’s Army ambush in which a police officer was killed and nine others injured.
He began his speech with the Hebrew greeting Shalom Beharim, which means peace be upon the mountains, before saying: "We firmly believe that violence is not the way to peace and development." The Bishop added: "violence does not solve problems; it makes our problems worse. The death, for example, of a soldier or a rebel makes orphans out of children and widows out of mothers. It deprives the affected family, whether soldier, policeman or rebel of its breadwinner, and it causes grief and hatred where there were none before."
He added: "We join other peace advocates and strongly urge the Philippine Government and the National Democratic Front to return to the negotiating table and resume the peace negotiations as soon as possible. The resumption of the peace talks will provide another chance for peace to prevail. It will give us a reason to hope that the causes of the festering problems besetting our province and nation will be addressed in a peaceful way. Meanwhile, the violence must stop: no more ambushes! No more Fighting!"