PNP, Catholic Church join hands for localized peace talks
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the leaders of the Catholic Church have joined hands to explore and reaffirm the collaboration of both sectors to end the decades-long insurgency in the country.
PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde and Manila Archbishop Antonio Cardinal Tagle met Tuesday at the Archbishop’s Palace in Manila to discuss the pursuit of localized peace talks with members of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Maj. Gen. Benigno Durana Jr., director of the PNP Directorate for Public and Community Relations, said that during the meeting, Albayalde agreed with the prelate that “any call for peace talks must come from the broad sector of society and not just a unilateral declaration from either government or underground movement.”
“The PNP is actively pursuing national government efforts to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) thru a multi-sectoral undertaking,” Durana, who was also present in the meeting, said in a statement.
He said during the meeting, Tagle also suggested the formation of an “ecumenical fellowship” among various religious congregations in the country, similar to what he initiated when he was Bishop of Imus.
Albayalde, meanwhile, also relayed concerns over infiltration of some church organizations by communist terrorist groups.
“Both leaders vowed to continue collaboration on these issues and other issues relating to national unity and stability,” said Durana.
Aside from discussing efforts to end the insurgency, Durana said Albayalde also sought the support of leaders of the Catholic Church on the restorative approach being implemented by the PNP in its internal cleansing program.
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