MANILA, July 14, 2015 – The Catholic bishops did not make a categorical endorsement of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, but said they want a BBL that is based on and guided by “social moral principles.”
In a statement, the bishops said that like everyone else, they want just and lasting peace. And for this reason, “we want a BBL that is rooted in social justice and promotes social justice”.
“We want a BBL that effectively addresses the injustices suffered by the Bangsamoro as well as the injustices suffered by indigenous peoples and various religious minorities within the proposed Bangsamoro area,” they bishops said.
Self-determination is key
“We want a BBL that concretely achieves the self-determination of the Bangsamoro in an identified area that remains part and parcel of the territorial integrity and under the national sovereignty of the Philippine Republic,” they said.
The bishops issued the statement on Monday after the three-day CBCP plenary assembly held at the Pius XII Center in Manila.
The statement was originally made by the Mindanao bishops and was later adopted by the CBCP.
Qualities of an ideal BBL
The bishops said the BBL should also be the following:
- A BBL that effectively addresses the injustices suffered by indigenous peoples and various religious minorities within the proposed Bangsamoro area
- A BBL that concretely achieves the self-determination of the Bangsamoro in an identified area that remains part and parcel of the territorial integrity and under the national sovereignty of the Philippine Republic
- A BBL that promotes harmonious relationships between peoples of various ethnic groups and of different faiths.
- A BBL that effectively protects universal human rights, particularly that of the IPs and the rights of Christian minorities who fear harassment and further marginalization
- A BBL that responds concretely to the concerns, hopes, and aspirations of all stakeholders, of various Bangsamoro groups, and of non-Moro citizens within the new Bangsamoro autonomous region.
- A BBL whose provisions are clearly Constitutional, without betraying the intent and spirit of peace agreements
“That is the BBL we envision on the basis of social moral principles of social justice, harmony and peace. It is a vision that goes beyond the proposals now being discussed in our legislature,” the bishops added.
As moral teachers, CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas, clarified that they do not intend to endorse or oppose any draft of BBL because they “stand on common moral ground issues.”
“The moral imperative to lasting peace is this: Christians, Muslims, Lumads and members of other faiths have to begin trusting in one another,” said the bishops.
“Continuing mistrust is the road to continuing violence and unrest in Mindanao. Trust is a moral pre-requisite for justice, harmony and peace,” they said. (CBCPNews)