US-based Pinoy activists launch peace petition
LONG BEACH, California - After a month of reaching out to impoverished communities in the southern Philippines, activists are back in the US and are now calling on President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to encourage President Benigno "PNoy" Aquino to resume peace talks with rebels in Zamboanga.
"We want the Philippine government and the national democratic friends to resume the peace talks. We believe it is better to talk peace then to wage war. We believe this is really the best way for peace to be realized in the Philippines from Zamboanga all the way north to the Cordilleras," said Kusella Hilo of Bayan USA.
Along with faith leaders, activists launched a petition, on the anniversary of martial law at tinyurl.com/resumepeacetalks
They also said prayers this week as they were holding a vigil calling for justice against the pork barrel scam, and for the people of Zamboanga.
The Moro National Liberation Front's siege in Zamboanga comes with a few weeks of President Obama's scheduled visit to the Philippines.
Philippine foreign affairs officials said they are not expecting the Zamboanga crisis to affect the President's visit.
However activists are hoping Obama, who is believed to talk about bringing US military bases back into the Philippines, can bring peace to the region.
Over a hundred people-- including rebels, government security forces and civilians--have been killed since the siege began on September 9.