Catholic World News

Philippine bishops back greater autonomy for Muslim Moro people

July 15, 2015

As Philippine lawmakers discuss legislation that would create an autonomous region for the Muslim Moro people, the nations’ bishops stated that greater autonomy is in accord with justice.

“We do not intend to endorse or not to endorse any draft” of the legislation, the bishops said in their July 11 statement.

“Ever since colonial times, Muslim leaders have expressed three major grievances: the reduction of their ancestral territory, the erosion of their cultural identity, and the loss of self-determination in the development of their communities,” the bishops added. “At the basis of the deep fundamental Bangsamoro aspiration to self-determination in an autonomous region is the moral principle of social justice. Social justice implies the other moral principles of just peace and inter-religious harmony.”

The prelates called for a law that “concretely achieves the self-determination of the Bangsamoro in an identified area that remains part and parcel of the territorial integrity and under the national sovereignty of the Philippine Republic.”

The bishops also called for legislation that protects “the rights of Christian minorities who fear harassment and further marginalization.”

From 1978 until a 2014 peace agreement, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front used violence in its quest for greater autonomy.


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