#Human Rights
local government units, church peoples, non-government organization, civil society

“For those who can not speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute, speak up and judge fairly. Defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31: 8-9

Interfaith Movement for Peace and the Release of Cammayo and Tumol (IMPACT)

(adopted as a work in progress at the November 27, 2008 Round-table Discussion
& Launching of IMPACT at Chippens Restaurant, Roxas Avenue, davao City)

We, members and convenors of Interfaith Movement for Peace and the Release of Cammayo and Tumol (IMPACT), commit ourselves to and advocate for the genuine peace-building and interfaith solidarity which are salient at this time when incessant hostilities between two warring parties-- the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) have been erupting all over Mindanao.

With the escalating numbers of human rights violations victimizing the hapless civilian populace, the constant threats and fears and the repeated fleeing of residents due to war happening in their communities, the killings of many soldiers from both sides and soldiers held as captives, it is in this Signs of Times that we come together to reverberate our loudest call for justice and genuine peace in our land.

With utmost consideration that 1Lt. Vicente Cammayo, company commander of the 11th Special Forces Company - 3rd SF Battalion, and PO3 Eduardo Cruzada Tumol of the 1105th Provincial Mobile Group-Philippine National Police (PNP) are still in the hands of the New Peoples Army (NPA) and being held as Prisoners of War (POW), we come as one to come up with safe and speedy resolution to this case.

Cammayo was captured in a tactical offensive by the NPA on the 3rd Special Forces Battalion at Sitio Anagase, Barangay Casoon in Monkayo, Compostela Valley last November 7. Tumol, on the other hand, was abducted at a checkpoint conducted by the NPA on November 5 in Barangay Baogo in Caraga, Davao Oriental.

These incidents further bring to light the matter of the peace negotiations with the short-term and long-term issues that are intimately related to it.

We are calling for the immediate and safe release of the two aforementioned prisoners of war on humanitarian grounds. We are urging the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to heed this call and we appeal to the New Peoples Army to adhere to the Geneva Protocols in handling humanely the Prisoners of War. We also deem it important that the government must be fully engaged with the case of the Prisoners of War and working to resolve this as soon as possible.

The families of both POW have been appealing on both sides for the immediate release of their kins. It is placing untold stress on their families; everyday they are waiting for firm news and updates with mounting anxiety. They have been waiting for the safe release of the two as they expressed hope that their kins will be released soon that they may join their respective families this Christmas. We are urging the government to return to the peace negotiating table so that no more families will have to go through this kind of torment and to start a step towards the path for genuine and lasting peace.
We strongly believe that there is an urgent need to suspend offensive military operations to facilitate the release of the two Prisoners of War (POW). It is the Government's responsibility to establish a conducive ground and condition for the safe and immediate release of the POW as well as to restore the basis for peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP. The Prisoners of War's well-being must be considered. Ultimately, the fate of the POW depends on establishing a just and lasting peace. We call on to the government to focus their efforts on ending this crisis.
We believe that there is no solution to the conflict by continued warfare and violence. Therefore, we declare that peace negotiations have to start without preconditions that might lead to further hostilities.

We come together with tremendous hope to defend life amidst forces of death, to overwhelm war with peace, and fight oppression with justice. We call for new policies based on the peaceful resolution of disputes between the two opposing parties in our country – the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP); respect for national sovereignty, Geneva Protocol, Comprehensive Agreement for the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the defense and regard of basic democratic freedoms to all; and social and economic justice.

We also seek to build a broad mass movement for peace and justice composed of church people, lawyers, academe, professionals, members of Local Government Unit and other sectors who are ready to painstakingly engage in the just struggle for genuine peace. We must understand that peace does not mean silence amidst injustice. It is one that recognizes the right to life and human dignity, a peace that is based on the common aspirations for a free and just society.
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.” (Matthew5:9)

We call on the people to be part of this peace-building mission we are embarking to, as this is our moral responsibility as children of God.

We must also pray together for genuine peace based on justice. Let us not get into the trap of prejudice and hatred that causes division among our people.

Let us work together in love, hope, peace and justice as God wants us to do to be able to understand the roots of this conflict, and be able to present long-term solutions for the present generation, and the future generations to come. As freedom-loving Filipino people, let us join hands and call for genuine peace now.

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The Release the Prisoners of War petition to local government units, church peoples, non-government organization, civil society was written by impact and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.