Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, CBCP President.

By CBCP News

September 1, 2023

Manila, Philippines

The Catholic bishops’ leadership on Friday clarified it is not part of a controversial anti-communist task force, known for red-tagging activists, journalists and even church people.

The so-called National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) claimed that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) had agreed to join them as one of the private sector representatives.

However, its president, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, clarified that it was not the entire CBCP as a conference, but rather one of its 31 departments—the Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA).

He said the ECPA “are engaging with the 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”.

“This Commission has access to the NTF-ELCAC’s executive committee 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,” David said.

“The said Commission also has the intention of providing moral-ethical approaches to dealing with the problem of insurgency,” he said.

Still, David revealed their intention to address the matter in the upcoming meeting of the CBCP Permanent Council, which makes decisions on behalf of the conference when the plenary is not in session.

“Can this Commission engage the said government body in a dialogue without having to join its ExeCom as member — i.e. as private sector representative? We hope to come up with some resolutions on this matter soon,” he said.


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