By Leslie Aquino
Instead of an all out war against communist rebels, peace advocates on Thursday urged President Duterte to go for all out peace.
Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said an all out war will only lead to further division in the country.
“I think what we should do is really call for all out peace. Let the whole nation call for all out peace,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of a forum in Quezon City.
“An all out war may bring about a divided community in our country. So, all the more we should work for justice, peace negotiation, culture of dialogue to bring about peace,” added Ledesma.
The Mindanao prelate also believes that religious leaders can act as “mediators” to help bring about just and lasting peace.
“These religious leaders can bring about this spiritual element for a lasting and just peace in our community,” Ledesma said.
“They are really the mediators and they are in between. They are neutral ground. They can bring about the total aspiration for human rights, human dignity, and both the government and rebels are also in favor of that,” he added.
Retired Kalookan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez pushed for the resumption of the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines which was terminated in November 2017.
“I hope it will resume because that will really help bring about peace,” he said.
“I hope he will also look at the real situation of the country as well as the desire of the people,” added Iniguez.
Both Ledesma and Iniguez are members of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), a peace advocate group, working for a just and enduring peace by supporting the peace process between the GRP-NDFP.
Members of the PEPP even ring bells at the end of the forum to call for the resumption of the peace talks amid what they said the rampant killings, harassment, criminality and impunity in the country.
President Duterte, on Tuesday, ordered the military to launch a “full-scale” attack against communist rebels and even added that he would not be accepting any surrender as he plans to finish the insurgency problem within his term.