The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), the largest network of evangelical denominations, local churches and parachurch and mission organizations in the country, gathered 40 Christian peace advocates from all over the Philippines for the First Evangelical Peace Summit, held in Tagaytay City last June 29-30, 2011.
Bishop Efraim Tendero, PCEC National Director, laid down the objectives for this meeting:
- to raise awareness and facilitate a common understanding on the context and issues of the current peace negotiations in the country;
- to gain information about the current state and social cost of the armed conflict and military operations in different regions of the land;
- to be updated with the ongoing efforts of various groups—religious and civil society organizations—in monitoring and brokering the peace negotiations;
- to form a peace constituency from among the Evangelical church groups and to formulate a plan of action for peace at the local, regional, and national levels; and,
- to formalize the creation of a Peace and Reconciliation Commission.
Rev. Luis Daniel Pantoja, President and CEO of PeaceBuilders Community Inc. (PBCI), presented A Biblical-Theological Framework for National Peace and Reconciliation Movement. He shared a holistic view of the Evangel or the Good News which is centered on Christ—the Prince of Peace. Pantoja summarized his peace theology as:
- Harmony with the Creator—spiritual transformation;
- Harmony with our Being—psycho-social transformation;
- Harmony with Others—socio-political transformation; and,
- Harmony with the Creation—economic-ecological transformation.
PBCI is also the major partner of PCEC in producing the 78-page Peace & Reconciliation Resource Manual that was distributed to all the participants and guests.
Dr. Alvin Ang, a professor at the University of Santo Tomas, lectured on the Socio-Economic Costs of the Armed Conflict in the Philippines.
Jurgette Honculada, Member of the Government Peace Negotiating Panel for Talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front, gave an Update on the Current Peace Negotiations.
Various groups also presented their respective peace and reconciliation activities.
After a challenging biblical reflection on Christian Unity by Bishop Tendero, the Summit concluded with the formal organization of the PCEC Peace and Reconciliation Commission. The delegates went back to their regions and provinces with a comprehensive strategy and specific plans of action.
Susan May Granada, the National Coordinator of the PCEC Peace and Reconciliation Commission, headed the team that prepared and coordinated this very important event in the life of the Evangelical Christians in the Philippines.