COTABATO City, Feb. 12, 2015—The Archdiocese of Cotabato has decided to show its support for the peace process in a symbolic 90-kilometer bike ride to Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Feb. 14, Saturday, where at least 300 bikers from different sectors will express solidarity with the call for justice for the “Fallen 44”.
In an interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas, Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin M. Bagaforo shared his Archdiocese intends to take part in
the “Bangsamoro Bike for Love” (BBL) which will be headed by the 6th Infantry Division ng Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
According to the prelate, the bike ride will be their way of showing their confidence in the peace process, extending sympathy to the victims and their bereaved, as well as showing solidarity amid the controversies surrounding the “Mamasapano Massacre” which left 44 commandos of PNP’s Special Action Force (SAF) dead.
Meanwhile, in a pastoral statement on the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) issued Jan. 22, a few days before the Mamasapano encounter, the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), underscores that “peace goes hand in hand with justice,” stressing it is “not the fruit of a mere handshake or an embrace”.
Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan explains that more than the absence of conflict, peace is the “assurance of respect for fundamental human dignity and human rights”.
“For the Bangsamoro, justice means the recognition of their centuries-old aspiration for self-determination, their right to chart their own destiny in dignity and freedom. For the whole country justice requires the acceptance of the overarching right of national sovereignty and national territorial integrity,” he says. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)