Prelate hopes papal visit can help peace process

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Sunday, August 10, 2014


A FILIPINO cardinal is hoping that the visit of Pope Francis to the country next year would help in the development of the peace process in Mindanao.

Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo said in an article on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website that the four-day visit of the Holy Father and "continued church engagement in the peace agreement and the Islamic presence in the Philippines could be helpful.”

The pontiff is set to be in the country from January 15 to 19, 2015. He would likely visit the survivors of last year's killer Typhoon Yolanda.

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Quevedo made the statement recently at an international gathering of the Knights of Columbus in Orlando, Florida, where he spoke about the peace talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“Signed peace agreements do not guarantee a just and lasting peace, when the political and economic causes of war are aggravated by cultural and religious biases and prejudices that have been operative in the minds and hearts of Muslims and Christians for four centuries,” he said.

Quevedo added: "The only way to respond to this injustice is to look at their territory now as a product of political realism: They can no longer own the entire area, therefore the idea is a win-win solution to make sure national sovereignty is preserved but also to acknowledge this culture, which is distinctly different (from) the Christian culture of the rest of the country.”

He noted the root causes of conflict -- poverty, injustice, corruption and land disputes -- must also be addressed to attain peace.

“The root cause of the conflict is injustice, and after studying Moro history I began to believe they have lost their own sovereignty, their own identity as a distinct group and because of that the government has neglected them in terms of development,” Quevedo said.

Last week, both parties started a new round of talks over the delayed filing of a bill that would create a new Bangsamoro political entity. (FP/Sunnex)

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