It’s the first time that a Philippine president meets with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chair since the negotiations commenced 14 years ago. Both discussed possible approaches in moving the peace process forward.
Accompanying the President in the informal meeting were Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia, Budget and Management Sec. Florencio Abad, Finance Sec. Cesar Purisima, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and Government of the Philippines (GPH) Peace Panel Chair Marvic Leonen.
Murad, on the other hand, was joined by some members of the MILF Central Committee, the MILF Peace Negotiating Panel and some base commanders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF).
OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE COUNCIL OF EVANGELICAL CHURCHES
THE AQUINO-MURAD MEETING IN JAPAN: A POSITIVE MOVE TOWARDS PEACE AND RECONCILIATION
The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) — the largest network of Christian denominations, para-church organizations and local churches nationwide — views the meeting of President Benigno Aquino III and Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim with respect and regards it as a positive move towards peace and reconciliation.
The informal talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was held last Thursday, August 4th, 2011 at around 8:45 PM at the Ana Crowne Hotel in Narita, a suburb of Tokyo City, Japan.
In this historic meeting, President Aquino has demonstrated his sincerity and commitment to lead this country forward in order to achieve a negotiated political settlement with the Moro people. We commend his hands-on approach to the Peace Process. Such an approach is a needed leadership quality as we, the whole Filipino people, seek an equitable and sustainable peace in southern Philippines.
We call on the members of the PCEC, along with the larger Body of Jesus Christ in this land, to pray for wisdom for both President Aquino and Chairman Murad as they have agreed to “fast track” the GPH-MILF peace negotiation. Pray that both the GPH and the MILF leadership would carefully consult their respective constituencies as they seek the prompt completion of a negotiated political resolution to the GPH-MILF conflict.
We call on all peace-loving Christians and Muslims to be prayerfully vigilant against those “spoilers” of peace, many of whom are protecting their interests and are the financial and political beneficiaries of the armed conflicts in Mindanao. Pray that their hearts and minds would be transformed and that their interests would be re-aligned towards genuine justice and peace.
We call on all the people in the Philippines to pray for genuine justice and peace in our beloved land, not just for some, but also for all. Pray that we, Filipinos would realize and see that armed conflicts are merely symptoms of the root problems: land distribution, historical injustice, corruption, abuse of power, apathy and other social sins—from which we all must turn away.
We call on both the GPH and MILF peace panels to consider our voice, through the PCEC Peace and Reconciliation Commission, as we offer our active participation in giving our input to the on-going negotiation between the GPH and the MILF.
Let us follow the call of Jesus who said: Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God (Matthew 5:9).
May we all experience genuine shalom-salam within us and around us!
For more information, contact: Bishop Efraim M. Tendero, PCEC National Director, telephone 9131655-57 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.