Tagle: ‘Marawi evacuees need a listening ear’

Tagle: ‘Marawi evacuees need a listening ear’
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has a close encounter with the children of Basey, Samar, which was hit by super typhoon Yolanda in 2013. EILEEN BALLESTEROS

TACLOBAN City – Aside from the obvious relief goods and stepped up security, Marawi residents, who have been displaced and affected by the ongoing clash between the Philippine military and members of the Maute rebel group, just need someone to talk to.

This is what Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said on June 1 during a visit to Yolanda typhoon-stricken Basey town in Samar.

“We have experienced trials, storms in our lives, and we have many brethren Christians or not who are now looking for love, for someone to trust,” he said, referring to locals who have been displaced and traumatized by the ongoing crisis in Mindanao.

‘Emotional baggage’

The evacuees, said the prelate, bear “heavy emotional baggage” and need people who will listen to their stories and to whom they can unload the pain and anxiety they feel because of the violence in Marawi.

“Let us witness to Christ’s truth,” stressed Tagle before leading the congregation into a moment of silence to thank God for those who helped the Yolanda survivors and to pray for peace in Marawi City.

The prelate narrated how a group of Muslims from Marawi escaped to Manila and sought him to share their emotional burden resulting from the strife in Marawi City.

“Let us pray for our brethren in Marawi, they may have not experienced a super typhoon but they are now encountering a different kind of humanitarian crisis not brought by typhoon but by violence,” he said in his homily.

Tagle, president of Caritas Internationalis, along with Caritas Philippines president Nueva Caceres Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona, Palo Archbishop John Du, and several priests who head different Caritas action centers in Eastern Visayas, celebrated a Mass on Thursday at the St. Michael the Archangel Parish Church before going on a site tour of the housing and livelihood projects built or funded by Caritas for super typhoon Yolanda victims in Basey.

No end in sight

Tria Tirona said the Archdiocese of Nueva Caceres formulated its oratio imperata for peace in Marawi and Mindanao and is now being prayed in all its parishes, copies of which were distributed to different dioceses in the country.

The oratio imperata also prays that there will be no abuses of power and authority during the period of martial law in Mindanao.

According to him, Caritas Philippines has initially sent PhP300,000 for relief operations in Marawi.

For Tria Tirona, relief operations should not extend beyond one week lest the beneficiaries become dependent on dole-outs.

However, Tria Tirona could not ascertain how long relief operations should last in Marawi, where government troops continue to clash with members of the terrorist Maute group.

“Peace and the people’s security have to be secured first, so that the people will return to their homes and when they have returned, help could be given to them,” he explained.

Although distributing relief goods for survivors of natural and man-made calamities is necessary, prayer is essential, said the prelate.

“We, being people of the Church, put utmost importance to prayer. We do not just write to people to give help but we tell them to pray for the victims as we, along with our contemplative priests, also pray for [our donors],” said Tria Tirona. CBCPNews