New cardinal urged to use clout to hasten peace in Mindanao
COTABATO CITY, Philippines—The Moro Islamic Liberation Front urged Mindanao’s first cardinal, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, to use his clout as a highly respected religious leader and peace broker to hasten the peace process and put an end to the bloodshed in the region.
Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chair for political affairs, said his organization had high hopes pinned on Quevedo because of his “tract record in fostering peace, harmony and co-existence in Mindanao.”
“We hope that his being a cardinal would help hasten our long quest for the elusive peace in Mindanao; and, God willing, we will have it,” he said.
As a young priest and even after he became archbishop of Cotabato, Quevedo has always been active in promoting inter-religious dialogues among Christians, Muslims and the Lumads, as indigenous people are referred to.
He once said that he considered peace brokering as his “primordial missionary task” and that he had always wanted “to establish just and lasting peace in Mindanao.”
The government’s panel of negotiators in talks with the MILF said the elevation of the 75-year old Quevedo was a “wonderful blessing and a portent of many positive developments to come as we push for peace in the South.”
“It reflects the recognition that the Vatican gives to the peace process in Mindanao, our very own contribution to the global call of Pope Francis to work for peace,” the government peace panel, led by Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, said in a press statement on Wednesday.
The panel described Quevedo as “a beacon of hope that will surely augur well to the Mindanao peace process.”
Quevedo, a member of religious order Oblates of Mary Immaculate, had contemplated retiring before the Vatican announced his elevation to cardinal, according to people close to him.
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