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CBCP lauds signing of gov’t-MILF peace pact

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MANILA, March 27, 2014 — The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Thursday lauded the signing of the peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

In a statement, CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said, the signing of the peace pact may be regarded as a “milestone in the peace process,” marking the end of the long-running insurgency between the government and the Moro insurgency group in Mindanao.

“Like all peace loving Filipinos, we rejoice with our countrymen as we mark a milestone in the peace process with the signing of the peace agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF,” Villegas said.

Thursday marks the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), a five-page document that serves as the final peace agreement between the government and the MILF.

It will be the basis for the drafting of the basic law of the Bangsamoro region, which will replace the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as the community of the Muslim minority in Southern Philippines.

“We pray that this first courageous breakthrough will be followed by more steps leading to true and lasting peace in Mindanao,” Villegas said.

Open, trusting dialogue

The Philippine bishops also appealed to the government to ensure the fostering of inclusive peace by engaging “in an honest, open and trusting dialogue” with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the other Muslim secessionist group that has felt largely left out from the MILF-government peace agreement.

The ARMM, which will be replaced with the Bangsamoro political entity, was the result of the 1996 peace accord between the government and the MNLF.

“I appeal to the Philippine government panel to continue the process of widespread consultation and an honest, open and trusting dialogue with other communities in Mindanao, especially those who feel marginalized and ignored like the MNLF,” the CBCP said, noting that continuous dialogue will strengthen peace even more.

“It is so important for peace to be sustainable that it be inclusive and all embracing. The strength of the signing agreement lies in its willingness to reach out to everyone including those who are antagonistic to it,” he added.

The bishops also underscored the need to enhance economic activity in Mindanao, saying that peace could never prosper without efforts to foster human development.

“Development and the promotion of human progress is another name for peace,” the prelates said.

“The promotion of total human development is long delayed. It cannot wait further for the people of Mindanao who have been suffering for decades,” Villegas added. (Jennifer M. Orillaza)

 

 


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