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Bishop calls for backing for Moro agenda

People of Mindanao must unite and respect the proposals of rebels

Bishop calls for backing for Moro agenda
Bishop Jose Manguiran (left) emphasizes his point to members of the Moro peace panel
Romy Elusfa, Pagadian City
Philippines

May 11, 2011

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A Catholic bishop in the southern Philippines called on the faithful to "respect the political clamor" of the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which has been going around Mindanao to present its proposed "comprehensive compact" with the government. "We (Muslims and Christians) have been living together and respecting each other’s culture and religion. Now, we should also respect the political clamor” of the Moro people," said Bishop Jose Manguiran of the Diocese of Dipolog. Bishop Manguiran made the statement yesterday during consultations with the MILF that were also attended by Bishop Romulo Valles of Zamboanga. The bishop also called on the people of Mindanao to unite. The MILF panel earlier presented to Church and civil groups its proposed draft agreement with the government which specifies power and economic sharing between the Moro region and the national government. The rebel group said that under a "state-sub-state relationship," they will ask the national government to allow them to engage in international trading, control the regional security police, and  share natural resources 75-25 in favor of the Moro region, among others. The MILF said fundamental freedoms, especially the practice of religion by non-Muslims, will be respected. "Christ opposed oppression, hence we should not allow any form of oppression," said Bishop Manguiran. Father Angel Calvo, head of Peace Advocates Zamboanga, also emphasized the importance of supporting the peace process between the Moro rebels and the government. "What is important is for us Mindanaoans to be able to support the peace process, to be one behind the search for meaningful peace in Mindanao," the Claretian missionary priest said. PM14173
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