Bishops back Bangsamoro basic law, but… | Inquirer News

Bishops back Bangsamoro basic law, but…

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 07:33 AM January 23, 2015

socrates villegas

Archbishop Socrates Villegas. PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—While Catholic bishops support the right of the people of Mindanao to have full autonomy and self-determination under the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), this should not come at the expense of the country’s territorial integrity, according to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

“We just want to make sure that the territorial integrity of the Philippines is preserved as mandated by the Constitution,” Lingayen Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the CBCP president, told a press briefing at the closing of the 110th CBCP plenary assembly yesterday.


“Everybody should be heard and consulted so that it would be a BBL that is fair and just for all. In the end it would be a BBL that will truly promote peace for everyone,” he said.


“It is very important that the law is owned by everybody because the process is more important than the results. And the goal of the law is the promotion of peace and total human development,” he added.

Extensive consultation

The BBL was one of the issues that were discussed during the plenary assembly, said Villegas, and the CBCP will be submitting their position on the matter to the Congress.

The CBCP president said there should be an extensive consultation and dialogue with all stakeholders of the BBL.

“As extensively as possible, as humanly possible because this law is not just for Mindanao. It’s not just for southern Philippines. It will affect the whole country and therefore all people should be heard, all people should be consulted and all people should study it as part of good citizenship,” he said.

“The minority people in Mindanao, the indigenous people, even the Christians who are the minority in some provinces must be listened to as we draft the basic law for Bangsamoro. Please make sure that the marginalized sectors are given a voice and are listened to,” he added, citing the message from Pope Francis to give voice to the people in the peripheries.


Villegas said the bishops’ stand do not come from a legal perspective but from “an ethical perspective all the time and that is always our starting point.”

Peace from the Gospel

“Our concern [as religious leaders] comes from the point of view of the Gospel and it is Jesus who brought us the joyful views of peace, the peace that comes from the Gospel and with that the integrity of the nation,” said Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles.

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“Can we imagine that this BBL would bring more division than unity? Then that would be un-peace and so we would waste this dimension of territorial integrity. If the unity of the nation is preserved that would further enhance the peace that we want all to enjoy in the entire country, not only in Mindanao,” Valles said.

TAGS: BBL, Catholic bishops, Mindanao

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