New cardinal vows to work for peace
MANILA, Philippines—The country’s new cardinal has vowed to focus on promoting inter-religious dialogue and peace in war-torn southern Philippines.
“I prayed that I can contribute to the good of the people here in Mindanao and to the peace and dialogue being undertaken by the people of various faiths in Mindanao, especially with the Bangsamoro,” Cardinal-elect Orlando Quevedo said in an interview with the Church-run Radio Veritas on Tuesday.
Catholic officials have described Quevedo, the archbishop of Cotabato and the first prelate from Mindanao to be elevated to the College of Cardinals, as distinguished by his involvement in peace-building in Mindanao, where a decades-long Muslim insurgency has killed tens of thousands of people.
Among the country’s bishops, Quevedo has been the most exposed to the peace process in Mindanao, they said.
Isabela de Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad expressed confidence that Quevedo can help strengthen the peace negotiations with the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which is now the main Muslim insurgency after the Moro National Liberation Front signed a peace agreement with the government in 1996.
“His voice can really guide the framers of the agreement, which would be acceptable to Muslims, lumads and Christians,” Jumoad said.
Quevedo was the president of the country’s Catholic bishops’ organization when at least two major armed conflicts between the military and MILF occurred, in 2000 and 2003.
The Cotabato archbishop is the eighth cardinal from the Philippines, the largest predominantly Catholic nation in Asia.
Quevedo said another challenge that he wished to address was the problem of corruption.
In an interview, Quevedo said the announcement that he had been named cardinal came as a “complete surprise.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.