Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Manila and communists agree ceasefire
Peace talks to resume early next year
- ucanews.com reporter, Manila
- December 20, 2012
The government and communist insurgents yesterday agreed to a 27-day ceasefire starting today until January 15 next year.
The ceasefire, if it holds, would be the longest truce between the two sides in a conflict which has lasted four decades.
Government and rebel negotiators, meeting this week at The Hague, Netherlands, also agreed yesterday to resume high-level peace talks next year.
"We agreed to discuss the forging of a Common Declaration of National Unity and Just Peace, which upon signing by the parties will trigger the immediate implementation of a truce," said government chief negotiator Alexander Padilla.
Both sides agreed to exchange comments on their respective drafts of the Common Declaration and to meet early next year to work toward its finalization.
In a press communiqué issued by Norwegian envoy Ture Lundh, the Philippine government and the rebels agreed to resume talks on “further upholding national independence, democracy and human rights; national unity, peace and development; agrarian reform, rural development and national industrialization.”
Norway acted as mediator in this week's talks.
The issue of prisoner releases which caused the last round of negotiations to fail in November last year was not discussed during the meeting.
Formal peace talks between the government and the communists had resumed in February 2011 following a six-year hiatus.
They failed because of Manila’s refusal to release prisoners whom the rebels claimed were consultants to the negotiations.
The two sides also disagreed over the implementation of earlier agreements, such as the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, signed in 1998.
Padilla said prisoner release was not a proper subject for this week’s talks, "which should not have been burdened by any preconditions."