The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) cheered Rappler CEO Maria Ressa’s Nobel Peace Prize and expressed hope it would pave the way for a freer press in the Philippines.

“We, your pastors and bishops, wish to add our voices to that of the entire nation in congratulating Ms. Maria Ressa, for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts ‘to safeguard freedom of expression,’” CBCP President Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao said in a statement.

“We are grateful that Ms. Ressa, together with many of the distinguished and dedicated members of the fourth estate, have discerned the signs of the times and have valiantly responded and continue to respond to this particular invitation,” he added.

Echoing Pope Francis, Valles said he hoped Ressa’s recognition would pave the way for Filipinos to have a firm conviction in building a nation where the press is “free, at the service of truth, goodness and justice.”

He emphasized that the “mission and vocation” of the press is to “search for the truth” and “help build a culture of dialogue,” amid disinformation and fake news.

“As Filipinos and Bishops, we commit our continued collaboration in order to uphold these values,” Valles said.

Ressa is the first Filipino to receive the Nobel Prize. She is the founder and CEO of the digital news media outlet Rappler, which has been on the receiving end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s several threats.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said Ressa and her co-winner, Dmitry Muratov, head of Russian paper Novaya Gazeta, were recognized for “their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.” Allyssa Mae C. Cruz


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