Priest calls for prayers to end martial law

Priest calls for prayers to end martial law
Fr. Chris Militante celebrates Mass with Palo Archbishop John Du. KAYCEE DAYA

TACLOBAN City – Speaking on behalf of the Archdiocese of Palo, Fr. Chris Arthur Militante called on the local faithful to pray for peace and for an end to martial law in Mindanao.

Militante, chairman of the Commission on Social Communication of the Archdiocese, said Palo Archbishop John Du takes on the stand of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines with regard to the declaration of martial law in the island.

“I pray for peace because if peace is restored comes the lifting of the martial law,” Militante remarked in an interview, adding, however, that martial law “if carried well has good outcome.”

The priest also urged the faithful to “pray for peace and our government leaders to be guided in their decisions.

On May 23, while in Moscow, Russia, President Rodrigo Duterte put Mindanao under martial law for 60 days amid the chaos created by the extremist terrorist Maute group in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.

Innocent civilians killed

Skirmishes between government troops and the military led to the death of innocent civilians as well as massive destruction of property in the said city, previously perceived to be a safe and peaceful Muslim-dominated city.

Upon his return to the country in the evening of May 25, Duterte signed Proclamation Order No. 216 bringing martial law into full effect.

Unlike martial law under the Marcos regime, the one implemented in Mindanao still recognizes the proper functions of the Philippine judicial and legislative assemblies, and does not grant military courts and agencies jurisdiction over civilians. The writ of habeas corpus is likewise still recognized.

Fr. Ivo Acebedo, former Dean of Studies in Sacred Heart Seminary in Palo and now priest-in-charge of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Mission Station in Brgy. Dapdap, Alangalang town in Leyte, said while martial law was abused during the Marcos dictatorship, it could help quell the present threat of terrorism.

“I’d rather make use of the temporary remedy that martial law affords, than to be charged with negligence of allowing such scourge to spread unchecked throughout domain, of allowing our sovereignty be raped by these uncouth brigands, all because of fears and scars from the past,” said Velasquez.

Another Syria?

“It is understandable to be apprehensive about martial law as people have gone through a lot during the harrowing years of the 70’s and 80’s when it was wielded as a tool by a corrupt government,” he wrote.

Velasquez, nevertheless, clarified that he is neither against nor in favour of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao much less President Duterte’s hint of possibly expanding it in Visayas and Luzon, should it be necessary.

For Fr.Virgilio Cañete, parish priest of St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Brgy. Telegrafo, Tolosa town in Leyte, shared his apprehension that “ISIS or Maute threat could turn hydra.”

In his social media post, he expressed belief that “a concerted effort is demanded,” to avoid “[another] Syria in the offing.” CBCPNews