Voters urged: Vote for pro-peace bets

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CAGAYAN DE ORO City, May 7, 2016 – “Vote for peace. Voting for peace means choosing candidates who will work for a just and enduring peace.”

“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,” said the religious leaders of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP) in a statement released late Thursday.

The religious leaders, in their statement, identified these candidates as those:
“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”;

“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”;

“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.”

Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma, S.J., D.D., PEPP co-chair; Bishop Noel A. Pantoja, national president, PCEC; Fr. Rex B. Reyes Jr., NCCP general secretary; Bishop Deogracias S. Iniguez Jr., D.D., PEPP Head of Secretariat and co-chair of the EBF; and Sr. Mary John M. Mananzan, OSB, AMRSP-Women signed the said statement.

The religious leaders also called on the electorate to “unite against those who will subvert the people’s democratic will to freely choose our leaders because of grave threats or financial opportunism.”

Quoting the Gospel of Matthew chapter 5 verse 9 that says “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God,” the ecumenical leaders also called on the faithful to “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,” they added.

Comprising Catholic Bishops’ 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), the PEPP “is actively engage in promoting 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. (Bong D. Fabe / CBCPNews)

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