CBCP exec to Palace: Find other ways to peace


AN official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to find other ways to peace, stressing that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) does not guarantee peace in Mindanao.

Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, over the weekend rebuked Mohagher Iqbal, chief of the MILF negotiating panel, for claiming that the Catholic Church is supportive of the proposed Bangsamoro law.

“Granting that the Catholic Church is supportive of the BBL as alleged by Iqbal, will it change the mindset of our legislators, especially those [who are]against [the measure]?” Secillano said in an article at the CBCP website.

“Why can’t the government and Iqbal start exploring other ways to peace that will be acceptable to all?” he added.

During a recent forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, Iqbal named Ateneo de Davao president Fr. Joel Tabora, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo and Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma Jr. as allegedly among those pushing for the bill’s passage.

Secillano said the fate of the measure is in the hands of lawmakers, who will vote on whether to pass it.

Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives have maintained that the BBL bill needs revisions to cure some legal defects.

“Didn’t Iqbal notice that the legislators’ opposition to the BBL is not necessarily buoyed by the electorate’s rejection of the draft law, but because of their own rational appreciation that the BBL does not guarantee peace in Mindanao?” Secillano said.

A vocal critic of the BBL, he argued that everybody wants a conflict-free and prosperous Mindanao but it is wrong to say that those who reject the BBL are against peace.

CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas has also rejected the idea that peace in Mindanao is possible only through the BBL.

Villegas described the solution as “simplistic.”

President Benigno Aquino 3rd had been egging on Congress to pass the BBL measure, warning that failure to do so will lead to more bloodshed.

Villegas criticized the President for his statement.

“All must work for peace in Mindanao, and throughout the country. This precept is not seriously disputed at all. What threatens the prospect of peace most, however, is equating it with the present BBL and threatening the return of violence and bloodshed should the legislature fail to pass it intact!” the bishop said.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. There could only be one Filipino Nation. No to BBL! No to terrorists! No to separatists!

  2. If we, Filipinos will be cowed by the threat of Iqbal and allow the MILF to get what they want, who will stop Iqbal and the MILF to make threats is they do not like what is going on.

  3. Pope Benedict to CBCP after the Popes visit to Philippines , Catholics need not breed
    Like Rabbits , even the Pope was sickened by how we mix religion and sex .
    Yes the Pope said ‘ Catholics need not breed liked Rabbits ‘ that comment was directed to US Pilipinos . Google it .

  4. The very nature of the Moro societies in Muslim Mindanao – loyalties to ones’ tribes at the larger scale and then to clans at the family level rather than to common socio-political-religious values – makes regional peace in these areas difficult if not near impossible. Thus, it is a truism that the approval/implementation of the BBL in any form does not guarantee peace in said region. Even now, the vesting of political authority to the MILF by the Philippine Government through BBL is challenged not only by the MNLF but also by such small but well-armed groups such as the BIFF and others.
    What the government (PNOY) should have done before negotiating peace with any groups was to use the existing ARMM government to call all the tribal heads and clan leaders together to a convention to formulate a consensus on specific socio-political-religious doctrines to govern the region, subject these to constitutional tests, and then to a plebiscite, and to elect tribal delegates to negotiate and work with the national government for implementation.
    It was wrong for the government to negotiate with armed sectors in a position of weakness rather than of strength.

  5. Catherine lopez on

    Iqbal is threatening the government! There will be no peace in Mindanao even if the bbl law is approved! As of now the milf has established the biff and this new group will be the one to terrorize the remaining provinces in Mindanao not included in the bbl. There should be only one group of Muslims; they should unite and not into faction! Unless they unite the government should never negotiate with them!

  6. There you have it. No right thinking Catholic will agree to a dismemberment of the republic and the loss of natural resources like oil and uranium including a huge chunk of their taxpayers money for a proposed law that is fraught with unconstitutional infirmities.

    Heven’t we heard what Pope Francis said that whatever peace agreement we will have must he in consonance with the principles and ideals of our founding fathers. It must never come to our country framed by “fake negotiators” and disguised bandits and revolutionaries with fake names and fake loyalties.

  7. Iqbal (whoever he really is) Iqbal will say that the CBCP supports BaBaLA and those who disagree (priest, bishop or acolyte or “not affiliated”), Ikki-bal will tell you shaddd-ap you don’t know what you are talking about.