MANILA— With the guidance of the Lord and as shown in the determination of both the Philippine government (GPH) and the National Democratic Front (NDF), the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is confident that achieving the long-sought peace is possible.
“We, your bishops, therefore commend the next round of the Peace Negotiations to the Prince of Peace — since He calms all storms, silences the shrieking of demons, and emboldens those who are discouraged and afraid,” said CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas in a statement.
The Catholic prelate added, “Peace ignited that charity in their hearts that made them share everything in common. Peace built the community. Peace can still rebuild our nation!”
The fifth round of peace talks between the GPH and the NDF is set to open on Saturday.
With this, Villegas urged both parties to take courageous steps to be able to attain peace.
“Indeed, one of the most common exhortations in all of Scripture was one beloved to Saint John Paul II: ‘Be not afraid’. This is what we ask of the negotiators on both sides of the table. Do not be afraid to take the bold steps that alone can bring peace,” the Lingayen-Dagupan prelate said.
Villegas added, “Intransigence is not strength. Humility is. That one has stood one’s ground is not necessarily the best that can be said of anyone.”
From May 27 to June 1, the two sides are set to hold the next round of peace talks in Noordwijk in The Netherlands.