DAGUPAN City, Pangasinan, Feb. 16, 2015–Amid concerns raised by the “Mamasapano clash,” especially its supposed impact on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has renewed its commitment to the peace process, which it believes will promote peaceful coexistence among Filipinos of various faith traditions in Southern Philippines.
In an official statement issued Monday, Feb. 16, CBCP president Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan said the Church’s policy-making body pledges support for lasting peace, a settlement of differences that will allow the people of Mindanao regardless of religious affiliations to “live in peace and as equals, citizens of one Republic, nationals of one country”.
“We hold it to be morally obligatory for the government and for the restive segments of Philippine society to search for the paths of peace,” says the prelate, adding that “true peace cannot rest on deceit, the suppression of truth, and subterfuge”, which only underscore the “paramount importance” of getting to the truth of the Mamasapano tragedy.
According to him, “the goal cannot be the cessation of hostilities at any cost, but a principled settlement of the dispute, and peace born out of truth, a commitment to social justice and adherence to the fundamental law of the land.”
Villegas notes further that Filipinos paid a heavy price for Mamasapano, inviting them to learn lesson from it.
“We have painfully been shown the pitfalls and the traps, the gaps and the lacunae of deals we have thus far entered into,” he explains.
The prelate expresses hope that Mamasapano should instill in all, especially in the country’s lawmakers, a sense of circumspection in respect to examining the BBL draft.
“Let the document be assiduously studied, fully debated and exhaustively examined,” he adds. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)