Priests urge Christians in BARMM to journey with Moro people

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (August 14) — Mindanao religious leaders urged Christians living in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to participate in the newly established Bangsamoro Region.

Father Ramonito Torres, Vicar General of Prelature of Saint Mary in Marawi said “Christians can contribute so much for peace.”

During the forum,  dubbed as Christians for Peace,  in Opol, Misamis Oriental on Monday,  christian communities gathered to discuss  the proposed policies which will be laid down by the Christian representatives to the BARMM Parliament.

According to Edgardo Ramirez, ARMM’s Deputy governor for Christians Affairs, under BARMM, Christian and Lumad wills have two seats each at the parliament.

Torres said christian communities are working as a one voice “So we can lobby, because the reality is that Christians is the minority in the BARMM region.”

The gathering last Monday was the second Christians for Peace forum and the 3rd leg which will be conducted in Zamboanga City within the month, which will be represented by the Christian communities in Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi provinces.

He said what they are doing now is to converge peace stakeholders not only from christian communities “What we now is do convergence not only for Catholics but for other Christian faith, so we can make one voice, just like the Lumad who already came up with a unified voice.”

Torres said that the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) which gives birth to BARMM is a good law as it provides avenue for the Christians to assert their rights .

“Both Muslims and Christians should understand the aim of BOL, it is for governace not religion,” Torres said.

Torres urged the Christians to journey with the Moro people in their quest for self determination.

“Journey with the Moro people, where our Muslim brothers are, because we are the minority, to we exercise our freedom of religion as Christians, as it stipulated in the BOL,”  Torres said.

Torres said that Inter faith’s presence is reconciliatory.

Christian and Muslims and Christians  should  converge and coexist, help each other and  develop peaceful communities.

Father Rogelio del Rosario of the Prelature of Saint Mary in Marawi said that Muslims and Christians should aspire to redeveloped the relationship it has prior to the occupation of the Spanish colonizers.

Edgardo Ramirez, ARMM’s Deputy governor for Christians Affairs, under BARMM,  stressed Christian and Lumad wills have 2 seats each at the parliament.

Ramirez on the other hand said that Christians are given the opportunity to help develop BARMM through active participation in governance.

“The law said that in terms of representation, there is a seat reserved at the parliament. There is  a maximum 2  seats for Christians and 2 for the Lumad

“That is already a signal for the Christians to participate in governance, in terms of policy development, because there are representative, that there is an opportunity for being part of decision making,” Ramirez said.

The forum participants  expect that the BOL will be a tool to   heal the wounds of the past,  which divides the christian and Muslim communities.

“We should go back to the original relationship that we had, the historic relationship even before we became Christians, we were Filipinos, we had relationship and we existing in relative harmony, I think that we need to go back and recover that relationship,” del Rosario said.-Lance Bangconguis/

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