Church execs: ‘Lighten Marawi crisis through kind words, compassion’

Church execs: ‘Lighten Marawi crisis through kind words, compassion’
Children at play during one of the psychosocial support activities in Barangay Tambo, Piagapo, Lanao del Sur. CARL CABARABAN, DSAC CDO

MANILA – The Catholic Church, through its social action arm NASSA/Caritas Philippines called on the public to have only compassion and kind words for those involved in the ongoing Marawi crisis.

“We all can help lighten the situation in Marawi by exchanging kind and sincere words, instead of derogatory and hurtful remarks,” said Fr. Edwin A. Gariguez, national Caritas’ executive secretary, following the launch of the Duyog Marawi program on Aug. 30.

Bishop Edwin dela Peña of the Prelature of St. Mary in Marawi also expressed similar sentiments as hateful and divisive remarks continue to flood the media.

“I really felt offended. The Catholic Church’ mission on Marawi is to be a reconciling presence. Both Christians and Muslims are working hard to re-establish peace in the conflict-stricken city, and in Mindanao region as a whole. We respect each other’s culture and faith. Certainly, we are not and will never be happy when either side is put in danger.”

“We need to build bridges of reconciliation and compassion, not division and hate,” the prelate added.

Immediately after the May 23 siege, the Catholic Church started a Php 12.3 million rapid response for more than 3,000 home-based affected families in Iligan City, majority of whom are Maranaos.

It launched on Aug. 30 the 4.8 million peso Duyog Marawi program, another church-based response to the Marawi crisis, this time in partnership with the Redemptorist Missionaries, and in cooperation with the Ranaw Muslim-Christian Dialogue for Peace.

According to a NASSA/Caritas Philippines press release, the Catholic Church’ efforts are focused on institutional development, community building, and peace and conflict resolution, together with the provision of food and non-food relief, livelihoods, sanitation and hygiene promotion, and psychosocial support.

NASSA/Caritas Philippines is the humanitarian, development, and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. CBCPNews