Even as We Mourn, Yes to Bangsamoro and God’s Peace
It is with profound sadness that we mourn the loss of precious Filipino lives
due to bombs exploded at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Jolo.
Two detonated bombs: one inside the church during Mass killing worshippers,
one outside the church killing first responders. Twenty dead; 112 injured.
More recently, two precious Filipino lives
killed after night prayers by a grenade blast in a Zamboanga mosque.
This is, we believe, lethal violence directed not only at
Christians and Muslims, soldiers and civilians,
but at the very dream of the Bangsamoro
for a homeland in the Philippines where through autonomy and self-determination
their religion of peace, their worship of Allah, their traditions and customs are preserved and revered, even as within their homeland and beyond,
they respect and honor peoples of other faiths
all enriching each other as Filipinos under one Philippine flag.
The lethal violence is meant
to sow enmity not only between Christians and Muslims
but more so and especially between Muslims and Muslims
and, misusing the name of the God of compassion and peace, to force people anew
to anger, revenge, hatred, violence and killing.
The violence intends to empower through bloodshed and death
factions who arrogate Islam to themselves
and substitute their weak human will for the Will of the Almighty and All-Powerful.
We mourn the death of those killed; we suffer with those injured;
we grieve with their families and friends.
But we refuse to let this lethal violence kill the dream of the Bangsamoro
for a homeland in Mindanao of peace and prosperity.
We refuse to let the will of a few naysayers overwhelm the powerful majority that voted yes to the dream of the Bangsamoro for lasting peace,
yes to a bright future for the empowered Bangsamoro youth,
yes to a prosperous and educated Bangsamoro where
democratic discussion and debate
replace the despotic tyranny of guns and violence,
yes to a future where the preserved identities of tribes
strengthen and not weaken, enrich and not emaciate the integrating Bangsamoro, and yes to a Bangsamoro that is respected and embraced in the Philippine Republic as it respects and embraces all Filipinos.
We call on our fellow Filipinos, therefore, to recognize, cherish and defend
the yes that has been clearly spoken
and implement what has been legislated by Congress and ratified by the People in the Bangsamoro Organic Law for Muslim Mindanao.
We call on our President to lose no time in appointing persons to the
Bangsamoro Transition Authority that would help realize the Bangsamoro dream for lasting peace. Let these be persons of vision and integrity
free from the self-interest of party politicians
who can liberate Mindanao from tribalism and factionalism
and prepare the Bangsamoro for self-governance under the law.
Meanwhile, even as we pray that the perpetrators
of the violence in Jolo and in Zamboanga find remorse and peace
in conversion from their violent ways,
we pray for peace inspired by St. Francis of Assisi:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace;
where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.
Humbly, we pray to you, God, the Almighty, the All-Powerful,
that you will lasting peace in Mindanao.
Bless us. Strengthen us. Empower us.
Make us instruments of your peace.
MOST REV. FERNANDO R. CAPALLA, D.D.
Archbishop Emeritus, Archdiocese of Davao
MOST REV. HILARIO M. GOMEZ, JR.
Bishop Emeritus, United Church of Christ in the Philippines
ALEEM ABU ALI CALI, OLP
National Ulama League
MR. MUHAMMAD R. ABAS
Executive Director, Tasbikka Inc.
MR. SAMSUDIN S. MUHAMAD
Executive Director, Dymamin Inc.
USTADS EISA JAVIER
Director, Mercy Islamic Centre Foundation
DATU MUSSOLINI S. LIDASAN
Director, Al Qalam Institute, Ateneo de Davao University
QAMAR G. GUIANI
Board Member, Action for Advancement and Development of Mindanao Inc.
USTADS ESMAEL M. LUCAS
President, Kutawato City Arabic Student Association Inc.
MR. JAAFAR BASAL KIMPA
Chairman, Amores Interfaith Council
PROF. ABDULBASIT SILONGAN
Executive Director, Basedmin Inc.
ENGR. FAISAL B. ALON
Executive Director, ABPSD Inc.
HIS EMINENCE ORLANDO B. CARDINAL QUEVEDO OMI, D.D.
Archbishop Emeritus, Archdiocese of Cotabato
MOST REV. ANTONIO J. LEDESMA, SJ, D.D.
Archbishop, Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro
MOST REV. MARTIN S. JUMOAD, C.M., D.D.
Archbishop, Archdiocese of Ozamis
MOST REV. GEORGE RIMANDO, D.D.
Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Davao
VERY REV. FR. PRIMITIVO VIRAY, JR., S.J.
Provincial Superior, Society of Jesus
CATHOLIC EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES
REV. FR. JOEL E. TABORA, S.J.