Filipino President Invites Church Leaders to Join Council Studying Peace Deal

Cardinals Luis Antonio Tagle and Orlando Quevedo, Archbishop Socrates Villegas Invited to Look Over BBL Agreement With Moro Rebel Group

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Filipino President Benigno Aquino III has invited three prominent Catholic prelates in the country to join a council of leaders to study a proposed peace deal with the Moro rebel group.

Among those invited were Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato and Archbishop Socrates Villegas, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

According to CBCP News, President Aquino address the nation saying that the prelates along with several other «citizen leaders» will take on the role of «independent convenors» who will evaluate the peace agreement, entitled the «Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

The Filipino head of state has insisted on improving the peace deal despite public outcry following a tragic incident in which 44 of the country’s Special Forces were killed in Mamasapano during a raid on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front territory in January. Aquino also said that they will gather other leaders to spearhead a peace summit to discuss the proposed peace deal.

“This way, the BBL can be improved. They will write a report that will be made public, so that everyone may be informed, and so that more of our countrymen may understand the matter. In this manner, we will be able to advance a reasonable decision as regards the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” Aquino said.

Regarding the invitation, Cardinal Tagle said that he received it prior to the president’s announcement and said that although an initial meeting has already taken place, he is still «waiting for more details from the government.»

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