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    » 10/09/2012, 00.00

    PHILIPPINES

    Basilan bishop welcomes deal with MILF, wants respect for Christians



    Mgr Martin Jumoad, bishop of Isabela (Basilan), backs the new Bangsamoro autonomous region for the local Muslim majority. Along with the diocese of Cotabato, Isabela has one of the largest concentrations of Christians on the island. At the same time, he calls for vigilance, asking Muslims to respect religious minorities.

    Zamboanga (AsiaNews) - Mgr Martin Jumoad, bishop of Basilan, is in favour of the creation of a new autonomous entity on Mindanao. The historic result achieved by the Filipino government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was announced yesterday at the end of talks between the two sides held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

    "I welcome the move because it is a step towards peace. We have suffered a lot and any small step towards peace is a sign of hope," Bishop Martin Jumoad said.

    The See of the Diocese of Basilan is in the city of Isabela, where Christians are about half of the population. Together with Cotabato, it has one of largest concentrations of Christians in the would-be Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

    Both cities have been the scene of many attacks by Muslim extremists, the last one on 5 July 2009 that left five people dead.

    Speaking to AsiaNews, local sources, anonymous for security reasons, said that many Christian families are already leaving their homes for safer areas, a trend that can only accelerate with the creation of the Autonomous Muslim Region.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Sharia will be enforced in the new region, but only for Muslims. At the same time, the two cities will be attached to Bangsamoro only after a referendum in 2013.

    "We have to be vigilant. At the same time, we explain to people the workings of the agreement, showing the risks and the opportunities that come from voting 'yes' or 'no'," Mgr Jumoad explained.

    The prelate hopes there will be respect for minority religions and groups in the proposed Bangsamoro Region, noting however that "Islam believes in a theocratic form of government."

     

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    See also

    23/09/2008 PHILIPPINES
    Mindanao: 500,000 people without food because of the war
    The Filipino government is set to investigate into the situation of half a million displaced people who could starve to death as a result of fighting between army and MILF. Humanitarian organisations warn that with the end of Ramadan the situation might get worse.

    18/08/2008 PHILIPPINES
    Showdown between government and MILF before peace deal
    According to Father Sandalo, PIME superior in the Philippines, recent violence between the army and rebels forces is an attempt to establish a stronger position before the final agreement is signed. Bishops and rebel leaders call for “peace and development” in Mindanao. However, only today 16 civilians lost their lives.

    01/09/2008 PHILIPPINES
    Mindanao: Catholic army officer takes the lead in inter-faith dialogue By Santosh Digal
    For years Lt Col Johnny Macanas was involved in the fight between Christians and Muslims. Affected by the militarisation of the conflict, he decided to take the lead in the struggle for “peace and mutual understanding. Cardinal Rosales appeals for prayers to “end the war.”

    04/05/2016 19:03:00 PHILIPPINES
    Abu Sayyaf’s escalating violence due to political strife in Mindanao

    Terrorists release a video in which they threaten to kill three more hostages. Source tells AsiaNews that Jihadi group’s greater activity has been facilitated by the election campaign for the governorship in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Militants are a “tool of political propaganda”. The region has one of the most corrupt governments in the country, and “has dealings with Jihadis”.



    08/01/2010 PHILIPPINES
    Mindanao: spreading a culture of peace through radio
    The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate inaugurate their new media centre. Through news, music and entertainment, they plan to spread a culture of peace among the people in one of the most violence-stricken regions of the Philippines.



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