Advancing peace during a pandemic
"The virus recognizes no borders, political ideology or even economic status."The first letter in the trilogy of letters published by former senator Wigberto “Bobby” Tanada and Edmundo “Ed” Garcia in “Reinvent Resistance,” which I introduced in my last column, is entitled End Armed Hostilities in the Midst of the Pandemic. It is a statement by Tanada and my friend Judge Sol Santos, a longtime peace advocate, in mid-May 2020, in reference to the United Nation Secretary General’s appeal to a “Humanitarian Pause” as he urged “to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus on the true fight of our lives.” It is addressed to fellow citizens, urging them to take a stand to put an end to armed hostilities in the midst of the pandemic. The letter writers viewed the end of half a century of hostilities between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) as imperative and urgent. With the outbreak of the worst public health crisis in over a century, an end to the interminable war between the two opposing forces has become not only unprecedented but most opportune. For them, the CPP/NPA rebellion, being the longest-running insurgency in the world, must not be a legacy to our youth. At the time the letter was written, the momentary ceasefires separately declared by both sides had lapsed, and the possibility of the armed hostilities breaking out once again was a distinct possibility. The letter pointed out that the fighting has lost meaning even as the people are battling a virus that is both invisible and deadly, severely affecting livelihoods and the vast majority of the people are shuttered in lockdown. The letter cited the message of the UN Secretary General: “….It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives . . . There should be only one fight in our world today, our shared battle against COVID-19.” It also cited an excerpt of the message by Pope Francis in his traditional Easter Message to the City and the World (“Urbi et Orbi”), where the Holy Father envisioned a world after the pandemic, and made “a stirring appeal for global solidarity aimed at combatting the contagion as well as enacting an immediate ceasefire on all conflict fronts -- particularly, at this time when all our efforts must be focused on ending the scourge that has ravaged the lives of people in nearly all the continents.”
No related stories matched this topic.