QUEZON City, March30, 2014—Amidst the noise brought about by the recent arrest of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, top leaders Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), Caloocan Bishop Emeritus Most Rev. Deogracias Iñiguez, Jr., D.D. emphasized that the “issue of peace is also a Christian one”.
In an exclusive interview with CBCPNews, Iñiguez said, an issue as important as peace should not be entrusted entirely to policymakers and elected officials.
“Bilang mga Kristiyano at Pilipino, marapat lamang na bantayan natin ang kapayapaan ng ating bansa” (“As Christians and Filipinos, we must always take an interest in our country’s peace situation”), he said.
“Ang kapayapaan ay hindi lamang isyung pulitikal at panlipunan. Higit sa lahat, ito ay usaping pang-Kristiyano” (“Peace is not just a political and social issue, but more so a Christian matter”), he reasoned.
Iñiguez, who is a core member of the Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP), explained that Christians have every right to defend the cause of peace whenever it is threatened.
The former head of the Diocese of Caloocan, who had retired from his episcopal duties in 2013 due to failing health, reasoned that “peace comes directly from God”.
“Ito ay nakaugat sa Panginoon dahil Siya ang Ama at ang Prinsipe ng kapayapaan,” (“It owes its origin to the Lord because He is both the Father and Prince of Peace”), he said.
While the bishop, who chaired the Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CBCP)’s Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, admitted that peace is elusive, he affirmed that it can be achieved.
Borrowing words from the Scriptures, he said that peace is “God’s gift” that must be nurtured by “persons of goodwill” to make it a flourishing reality where “food is on every table, people have decent houses and adequate livelihood, and where no one is afraid.”
Iñiguez also lauded the various organizations, Church and secular alike, that are taking up the cause of peace.
The bishop observed that these peace groups are motivated by faith.
In the face of perceived indifference, Iñiguez also called on fellow Catholic Filipinos to get out of their shell and raise the banner of peace “in the name of their faith”. (Raymond A. Sebastián)