(File photo)

MANILA – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is set to discuss the upcoming national and local elections, among others in its online plenary assembly which opened on Thursday.

Msgr. Bernardo Pantin, CBCP secretary general, said they have invited speakers from a range of sectors to discuss election issues.

Pantin added that they are looking to release a pastoral statement in connection with the upcoming polls by early February.

“The discussion aims to gather points and ideas that can be included in the statement,” he said in an article posted on the Conference’s news website.

CBCP president Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David will preside over the virtual assembly. He will be assisted by vice president Mylo Hubert Vergara.

Pantin added that also expected to be discussed are measures to strengthen environmental protection and climate actions. The discussions will be led by the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace (ECSA-JP), also known as Caritas Philippines.

On the other hand, Vergara asked for prayers as they hold their biannual meeting.

“May we request for prayers as we hold the CBCP 123rd Online Plenary Assembly (January 27-28, 2022). Thank you,” he posted on his Facebook page.

The two-day event will be the third time that the plenary assembly will be held online since mass gatherings are prohibited due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

The plenary assembly, which is the highest decision-making body of Catholic Church leaders in the country, meets in regular sessions twice a year -- in January and July.

At present, the CBCP is composed of 86 active bishops, two priest administrators, and 41 honorary members who are retired bishops. (PNA)