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Media Statement: Sowing Seeds for Peace Mindanao

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RESPONSE TO NDFP’S DECLARATION OF RELEASE OF FOUR BJMP PERSONNEL

Today, we are heartened that our humanitarian appeal for the release of the 4 BJMP personnel has been positively responded to by the NDFP.

Our belief in dialogue and negotiations as viable means to resolve any given crisis in the GPH-NDFP peace process has been further bolstered with this welcome NDFP announcement of release.

We have reiterated enough that negotiations, not hostile military rescue, is the only sure and safe way to secure the release of the POWs.

We have kept our hopes, despite obstacles and challenges, that that day will come when the 4 BJMP personnel will be reunited with their families.

We believe that the combined efforts of the families, peace advocates, and leaders of Local Government Units - notably Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo del Rosario, North Cotabato Governor Lala Taliño-Mendoza, and Vice Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri - not only to issue humanitarian appeals but to urge for favorable conditions for release--- have borne fruit.

We urge President Noynoy Aquino to make mutually beneficial measures by reciprocating the NDFP call for favorable conditions for release; we are hoping that the GPH bureaucracy will be exhausting prudent measures towards this end; we are likewise hoping that the armed forces will yield to civilian authorities so that any unsafe circumstance that may affect or jeopardize the release is averted.

On our part as an Independent Humanitarian Mission, we promise to contribute to the best of our energies and efforts--- so that we will finally be at that point of release as determined by the NPA custodial unit.

May the final resolution of this crisis become a significant step towards resuming the GPH-NDFP peace talks.

We also would like to express our desire that the same peaceful resolution may be achieved on the part of the captivity of Lingig, Surigao del Sur Mayor Henry Dano and his military escorts; we have joined efforts of Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel to issue the same humanitarian appeal for their release.

As we may be anticipating the release of the POWs, we also reiterate our call for the release of political prisoners on account that they are ‘prisoners of conscience’ in any government.

Finally, may we express as well our aspiration that the GPH-NDFP peace talks move on to the substantial agenda of social and economic reforms; these are long awaited by our people; it is at the heart of the resolution not only of POW crises but at the heart of the question of poverty and injustice in our beloved country. (sowingpeacenow@gmail.com)




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