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Renewed talks will benefit Mindanao people

Philippine peace moves ’a good stage to address economic woes’

Renewed talks will benefit Mindanao people
InPeace holds a consultation with various groups on the peace process
Ryan Rosauro and reporter, Cagayan de Oro City

January 25, 2011

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A peace advocacy group in the southern Philippines believes upcoming peace talks between the government and various rebel groups will address the roots of “economic injustices” in Mindanao. The Initiatives for Peace (InPeace), an interfaith group, said the talks are the perfect stage to address Mindanao issues, including landlessness and the exploitation of resources by foreign companies. Bishop Felixberto Calang, InPeace chief and prelate of the Philippine Independent Church said his group is “looking forward to a settlement on social and economic reforms.” The government and the communist-led National Democratic Front are set to discuss these issues when talks open in Oslo on Feb. 15. “In Mindanao, where the majority of the people are peasants, and where national minorities are part of its cultural and social milieu, the talks are a most welcome venue to address issues close to our hearts,” Bishop Calang said. He called on the people of Mindanao to voice their concerns during consultations that will be conducted by various parties ahead of the talks. He said InPeace will launch peace forums to reach out to grassroots levels to put forward their agenda for the talks. “We must do our part as stakeholders of peace and push the agenda of social justice,” he said. He also urged people to look into the issue of human rights violations and the presence of American troops in the southern Philippines.   Related reports Philippines ‘needs lasting peace after truce’ Peace talks ‘in peril,’ rights groups say PM13021.1638
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