Bishops divided on martial law extension | Inquirer News

Bishops divided on martial law extension

/ 07:32 AM July 25, 2017

Catholic Church leaders weighed in on the extension of martial law in Mindanao and showed stark differences in opinions over whether it was good or bad for the country.

A joint session of Congress on Saturday voted overwhelmingly to grant President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year to finish off members of a homegrown terror group that had tried to establish an Islamic State vassal in Marawi, a predominantly Muslim city.


“I am very disappointed with the approval of martial law until December by Congress—a stupid decision!” said Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes. “God help our country!” he added.

He said the lack of peace in Mindanao was likely to worsen because he believed prolonged martial law would eventually lead to abuses committed on civilian populations.


“The situation of war will get worse because of the abuses that will surely be committed in the name of martial law,” said Bastes. “Our economy is already going down because of it,” he added.


Bishop Edwin dela Peña, bishop of Marawi, had a brief remark when asked for his opinion on the extension of martial law: “Sad.”

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga in Bataan province said the extension of martial law meant only one thing—the first 60 days of martial law were a failure.

“To extend martial law means it is a failure and they have not achieved anything,” said Santos.

Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez of Marbel seemed amenable to the extension of martial law in Mindanao.

“That is okay. Peace and order have improved in Soccsksargen (a region in Mindanao),” said Gutierrez. “That the police and military are here, that is good,” he added.

Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao had what could be the most diplomatic reply. “I respect our lawmakers and government officials in their decision,” he said.

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TAGS: Arturo Bastes, Edwin dela Peña, Marawi siege, Mindanao martial law
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