THE National Ulama Council of the Philippines (NUCP) will be the counterpart of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) that will work out for peace in the country.

In the ongoing 3rd National Ulama Summit being held in Davao City, officials of the NUCP said their group is now the biggest umbrella organization of ulama organizations in the country.

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With 8.3 million Muslim Filipinos in the country, Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy convenor Amina Rasul said they have been meeting with the ulamas for the past three years, looking ways on how to strengthen the role of ulamas in the Mindanao peace advocacy.

She said the NUCP will serve as an autonomous organization of ulama networks. The council has already received 178 membership applications of ulama organizations nationwide.

Doctor Aboulkhair Tarason, NUCP chair, said they expect the NUCP to become the driving force of the ulamas who want to come together to attain peace and development.

This early, former senator and Magbassa Kita Foundation chair Santanina Rasul said NUCP is already being recognized by the National Government or its role in Mindanao.

"The Senate invited the NUCP as resource person on the Shariah justice system and sought guidelines on appointment of shariah judges. Muslims and Christians join together in guarding their votes. NUCP signed a MOA (memorandum of agreement) with PPCRV to monitor the elections since 2007. Muslim organizations have been very active in reporting to PPCRV several violations of the election law," Rasul said.

She added that NUCP is the only Muslim organization that has denounced the November 23 Maguindanao massacre immediately after the incident.

"What happened in Maguindanao is un-Islamic," Rasul said.

NUCP has also come out with an agenda for Mindanao that all presidential candidates should include in their platform. At present, there are 200 organizations under the NUCP with about 500 individual members.

Ulama League of the Philippines is one of the board of trustees of the NUCP. Many members of the council are also members of the Bishops Ulama Conference.

Rasul said the NUCP is looking at the common ground with other religion and not at what divides them. Thus, the theme of the 3rd National Ulama Summit: "A common word towards a common peace."

Rasul said if Muslims and Christians are not at peace, then the world will never be at peace.

Abu Hapsin, vice chair of Indonesia’' Nahdlatul Ulama executive council with more than 30 million members, supported the NUCP's mission.