Mindanao bishops urge peace in Sabah


President Benigno Aquino III. FILE PHOTO

COTABATO CITY—Catholic bishops in Mindanao on Friday issued a statement addressed to President Benigno Aquino III and other government leaders asking them “to settle the Sabah crisis and save the people of Mindanao.”

The bishops urged the government to support the appeal of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for an immediate end to the violence in Sabah; to press upon the two contending forces to heed the UN call; to resume the diplomatic work of resolving the Sabah claim, a task historically entrusted to the government by the sultanate of Sulu; and to ensure the withdrawal with honor of armed forces from the area.

“You may not agree with the methods used. You may not agree with the ultimate aim. You may say that the entire Sabah event was both foolhardy and also wrong. You might even suspect that there are unseen minds behind the event. But Filipino lives have been lost,” the bishops said.

And more Filipino lives are at stake, they said.

Those who died went to Sabah “because they believed they had a right to reclaim a naturally rich territory for which they were being paid a measly sum every year,” the bishops said.

“We cannot simply let them sacrifice more lives for that cause,” they said.

The bishops criticized the government for asking Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III’s followers to leave Sabah to end the violence there.

“Government leaders can do more than just tell them to get out,” the bishops said.

They said they were praying that the Philippine and Malaysian governments would “demonstrate wisdom and statesmanship” and prevent further bloodshed by “resolving the basic issues that had resulted in tragedy.”

The statement was signed by Digos Bishop Guillermo Afable, Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, Surigao Bishop Antonieto Cabajog, Malaybalay Bishop Jose Cabantan, Iligan Bishop Elenito Galido, Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, Isabela Bishop Martin Jumoad, Jolo Bishop Angelito Lampon, Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, Marawi Bishop Edwin de la Peña and Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo.

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  • Rod

    Actually mas malinao ang tingin ng mga meron.

  • paulcastillo100

    there must more invasion to be done.. give arms and bullet to civilians in malaysia and militia and men of sultan. also our soldier must invade that sabah.. Philippine must stand now and take sabah for filipino. these stupid malaysian is killing innocents and civilian. we have to save our people. invade now, or noynoy must out of the office very soon. Military and general wakeup

    • Azari Mat Yasir

    • Jonathan Lim

      HAHAHAHA funny people.

    • Jonathan Lim

      Hello keyboard warrior. I suggest you be the one to go first. You’d be a nice high quality fertilizer for the palm oil trees of Sabah.

    • fadlul bhaya

      You must’ve been asleep for the pass 40-50 years. Philipines military are no match to the Malaysian military, at least in the near future. I invite you to browse all our hardware and try to compare it with you own hardware. Oh! FYI, we don’t need to invade you. we just need to sabotage the fragile peace treaty in the South, armed and finance a new insurgency, and you’ll be back to square one.

      Most of those Suluk who came to Sabah and reside here are there to escape your f**k up country. Now in your eternal cruelty, you want to take away the peace and prosperity they’ve enjoy for so long.

  • Analie Jimenez

    Action speaks louder than words – the Catholic bishops should use some of the church wealth to help the refugees.

  • fadlul bhaya

    When the muslims of South Philipines are massacred by the thousands by the Christian army. It was malaysia, in the spirit of muslim brotherhood, that gave our Sulu brothers and sisters a refuge in our country. Some even got citizenship. None of the Sulus who came here without proper documents were ever deported, unless they’ve done something bad. We open our door for them so that we can mutually benefit from the trade between our peoples. Now, like a dog that bite the hand that feed them, they took advantage of our kindness. You’re lucky that malaysia took ownership of Sabah. It would’ve been another bloody underdeveloped territory under the Philipine rule.


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