Bangsamoro in your hands, bishops remind legislators | Inquirer News

Bangsamoro in your hands, bishops remind legislators

/ 05:37 AM September 28, 2014

Archbishop Lingayen-Dagupan Socrates Villegas. FILE PHOTO

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villagas. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Open the door to varying opinions on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and carefully study them, the local Catholic Church has advised Congress.

In a statement on Saturday, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) appealed to the members of Congress to study the BBL “assiduously” and subject it to debate.


“Let those who have reservations about the proposal or even oppose it speak their minds freely, coherently and without reserve,” said CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villagas.


The House of Representatives last Wednesday opened committee hearings on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, which shall form the foundation for the peace hoped for by the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The law carves out a bigger self-governing region in the southern Philippines that shall include the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and other new areas.

The CBCP pledged to support government efforts to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao.

“Many in Mindanao—and the government itself—pin their hopes on this latest attempt at what is hoped will be a definitive solution to the beautiful land of Mindanao that has, unfortunately, seen so much violence and has had so much of Filipino blood—Muslim and Christian alike—spilled on its soil,” Villegas said.

The responsibility for bringing the accord to fruition now rested with the legislative branch of government, Villegas said.

“The CBCP urges the legislature to do its part—to study the measure assiduously, debate it vigorously and place the interest of the nation and the vision of lasting, principled peace before every petty consideration, and let those who advocate it argue as strenuously in its defense, for only in the context of intelligent, but charitable, discourse can we hope for a reasonable outcome and resolution,” Villegas said.


He also urged the participation in the debates of the indigenous communities of Mindanao.

“It would violate the tenets of social justice to ignore them under the pretext of going by the desires of the majority,” Villegas said.

The CBCP likewise acknowledged the need to keep the country united on the issue of the Bangsamoro despite the “variety of ethnicities, cultures, languages and peoples.”

“The effort the government has taken to arrive at an agreement acceptable to all Filipinos underscores the premium that must be placed on the political and territorial integrity of the entire country,” the chief prelate said.


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TAGS: BBL, Congress, House of Representatives

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