The 99th BPA took place on July 11-12, 2009 at Pus XII Catholic Center, Manila.
Eighty-eight (88) of 98 active bishops participated. Seven of 32 retired bishops were also present.
Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Apostolic Nuncio’s message was on “Gender”. Pope Benedict XVI clarified this sensitive theme in his Christmas address to the members of the Roman Curia. The language of creation- man and woman, male and female must be respected. Gender ideology pushes forward gender neutral terms as “couples”, “partners”, “parenting”. No more “husband” and “wife”; no “father”, no “mother”, no “maternity” nor “paternity”.
A 3-page pastoral statement on Lay Participation on Politics and Peace was approved after heated and long discussions. A summary of the 7 pastoral actions. People who are competent, credible and committed to change to get involved directly in “principled partisan politics. The laity are reminded of their right and duty to campaign for qualified candidates. People are encouraged to ensure credible, honest elections. Political education to be undertaken by Church personnel.
To abort the 2010 elections is condemnable. Con-Ass is not acceptable. “If Charter Change be needed, let it be after 2010 and by a mode that is credible widely participative, transparent and not self-serving”.
Pro-active peace-making is urgent. Life is sacred. It must be defended. Resume peace talk. Punish human rights’ violators. Multi-sectoral groups to monitor implementation of laws. Follow the path of peace: dialogue, openness, repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, development and equitable distribution of goods.
Also approved without much opposition was the “Statement of Appeal to the Government of the Philippines” to: counter attempts to derail CARPER; counter the secession of 600,000 has. of public lands in Northern Luzon to Pacific Bio-Fields Holdings, Inc. for bio-fuel to be exported to Japan; and favour the serious implementation of Land Acquisition and Distribution (LAD) over large and contentious agricultural estates.
Elected President and Vice-President were Bp. Nereo P. Odchimar, Tandag and Arch. Jose S. Palma, Palo, respectively. Other officials were elected/re-elected. Term is two years, 2009-2011.
Source: Communication from the Bishop (No. 542, 27 July 2009)