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ICC Note: Christians in the Philippines gather to voice concern for equal representation for the Christian community in the recently established entity that is now known as Bangsamoro Region in Muslim Mindanao. They hope that even as a minority, the Christian community will be able to participate in the Bangsamoro region without discrimination.

09/06/2018 Philippines (UCAnews) – Christians in the southern Philippines are pressing for what they described as “policies that will be inclusive to all” once a new autonomous political entity for Muslims is in place.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law in July that provides for the establishment of an entity known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The law is part of a peace agreement signed by the government and Moro rebels in 2014.

Non-Muslim groups in the region, however, said that while they support the creation of a new autonomous Muslim region, they also want to have a voice in the entity they will belong to.

“What is the participation of the Christian community in the Bangsamoro region? [This] is what we are gathering by way of consensus-building,” said Father Ramonito Torres, one of the convenors of a group called Christians for Peace.

He said the organization is an initiative aimed at gathering concerns of religious minorities in the predominantly Muslim region.

“It’s a reality that we Christians are the minority in areas affected by the [new political entity],” said the priest.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, 91.3 percent of the region’s 3.8 million population are Muslims.

Only about 312,440 people are non-Muslims.

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For interviews with Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org.