Borongan bishop calls for vigilance on anti-terror law

Borongan bishop calls for vigilance on anti-terror law

Bishop Crispin Varquez and the clergy of the Diocese of Borongan pose for a group photo after the Chrism Mass at the Nativity of Our Lady Cathedral July 8. PHOTO FROM BORONGAN CATHEDRAL

By CBCP News

July 8, 2020

Borongan City, Eastern Samar

A Catholic bishop called on priests to be vigilant against possible abuses in the enforcement of the contentious anti-terrorism law.

Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan has added his voice to those concerned about the new law, urging his priests to help protect the basic rights of their flock.

Speaking during the Chrism Mass at the Borongan Cathedral on Wednesday, he stressed that terrorism is “strongly condemned by the Church”.

“But we have to be vigilant against possible abuses in the implementation of the law,” Bishop Varquez said in his homily.

“We have to safeguard the basic human rights of our people because any form of violation would be contrary to God’s law of loving our neighbors,” he said.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that has made the people’s lives even more difficult and more uncertain, he said the new law provides more reason for uncertainty.

Critics of the anti-terror law worry that the vague provisions of the legislation could lead to an abuse in power.

Various groups also asked the Supreme Court to suspend the law, arguing that it threatens human rights.

With the many challenges besetting the nation, Bishop Varquez admitted that the call to exercise their prophetic role remains a “big challenge”.

“As pastors of God’s flock, you should stand ready to protect the innocent and sacrifice ourselves for their earthly well-being as well as for their eternal salvation,” he said.

“With passion, let us continue exercising, doing our priestly, kingly and prophetic roles in the church,” the prelate added.

The annual Chrism Mass is normally held during the Holy Week but the pandemic has forced the country’s dioceses to delay the celebration.

During the liturgy, the priests also renewed their priestly vows and the oils used to administer sacraments were blessed.

Bishop hits rebel attack that kills 3 in E. Samar

At least three people were killed and 14 were wounded after an attack allegedly carried out by a communist rebels on a police car in Brgy. Libuton, Borongan City, Eastern Samar on Dec. 13. ALREN BERONIO/ESTE NEWS

By CBCP News

December 15, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic bishop has condemned an ambush that killed three people and left 14 others wounded in Eastern Samar province on Friday.

Bishop Crispin Varquez of Borongan expressed his condolences to the families of those killed in the attack, including a policeman and two civilians.

“I am saddened over the incident,” he said. “I express my sympathies to the victims and their families as I assure them of my prayer.”

Authorities said the attack was carried out by alleged communist rebels in a village on the outskirt of Borongan City at around 3pm on Dec. 13.

Reports said that the rebels detonated an explosive followed by a burst of gunfire when they attacked seven cops on board a patrol car on their way to Borongan.

Five of the injured were policemen and three were minors including an infant.

Bishop Varquez stressed that killing is not the solution, as he called for the restoration of peace in the province.

“My appeal is let us talk and dialogue for the common good,” the prelate added.

“We are all Filipinos, one blood, and these things should not happen in our country, and in our province,” he also said.