Consult, let people participate in BBL discussion – CBCP

Consult, let people participate in BBL discussion – CBCP

MANILA, Jan. 22 (PNA) — Catholic bishops have reiterated the stand of the Catholic Church on the need to consult and let the people participate in the discussion concerning the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

In a press briefing at the conclusion of the 110th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines in Manila on Thursday, CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas said they are pushing for the people, particularly the stakeholders, to be included in the BBL dialogue for their voices to be heard.

“First, there should be an extensive consultation and dialogue with all the stakeholders as much as possible, and as extensively as possible, as humanly as possible because this law is not just for Mindanao, is not just for southern Philippines. It will affect the whole country and therefore all people should be heard, all people should be consulted and all people should study it as part of good citizenship,” he said.

The Lingayen-Dagupan prelate added, “Second, the minority people in Mindanao, for example, the indigenous peoples, even the Christians who are minority in some provinces, must be listened to as we draft the basic law for Bangsamoro.”

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Villegas said they “just want to make sure that the territorial integrity of the Philippines is preserved as mandated by the Philippine Constitution. We are not acting from a legal perspective, we are acting from an ethical perspective all the time and that is always our starting point.”

Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP vice president, seconded the statement of Villegas.

“I think at this point, all I would like to say is that everybody shall be involved so that the deadline that we heard, everybody will be heard, will be consulted and it would be a BBL that would be fair and just for all. In the end, it would be a BBL that will truly promote peace for everyone,” he said.

Valles added, “From the point of view of religious leaders as we are, our concern comes from the point of view of the gospel and it is Jesus who brought us the joyful views of peace, the peace that comes from the gospel.”

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