The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is a big network. It has 31 Commissions, Committees, and Offices, which are involved in various ministries, areas of pastoral work, and social advocacies.
One of them, the Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (with Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista as chairman and Fr Jerome Secillano as executive secretary) has the specific task of engaging the government on many levels of dialogue over important issues.
On the barangay level, this Commission encourages our parishes, for instance, to engage barangay officials in a dialogue through the UBAS (Ugnayan ng Barangay at Simbahan).
The said Commission clarifies that they are engaging with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) precisely to address some Church issues vis-a-vis government, including the issue about the red-tagging of some cause-oriented groups and Church organizations by the said body.
It’s not exactly CBCP as a conference but the Episcopal Commission of Public Affairs that is there as a private sector representative. As such, this Commission has access to the NTF-ELCAC ExeCom and more opportunity to express the Church’s specific concerns, since its mandate is to act as a liaison of the CBCP to the public and private sectors and to advance some of the social concerns and issues of the Church. The said Commission also has the intention of providing moral-ethical approaches to dealing with the problem of insurgency.
We intend to tackle this matter and come up with a concrete resolution on it in our forthcoming meeting of the CBCP’s Permanent Council. Can this Commission engage the said government body in a dialogue without having to join its ExeCom as a member — i.e. as a private sector representative? We hope to come up with some resolutions on this matter soon.
+ PABLO VIRGILIO S. DAVID, D.D.
Bishop of Kalookan
President, CBCP President