Church leaders react to deaths of top Marawi siege leaders

Church leaders react to deaths of top Marawi siege leaders
Government troops guard their positions outside damaged houses in Marawi City, September 19, 2017. VINCENT GO

MANILA— The deaths of key leaders behind the deadly siege in Marawi City is making an impact on the Catholic community.

Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon were killed in gunbattle with the government troops past midnight on Monday.

Omar and his brother Abdullah aligned themselves with Hapilon, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group and supposed emir of Islamic State group in Southeast Asia.

Bishop Edwin dela Peña is hoping that the death of the terrorist leaders will finally bring an end to the hostilities in the city that erupted since last May.

“Crumbling leadership signals the beginning of the end. I’m beginning to feel relieved,” Dela Peña said.

Archbishop Martin Jumoad of Ozamiz said the death of the key terror is “victory for peace and order in our society”.

“This serves as a lesson that evil must be conquered so that goodness may reign. May those who plan evil realize that there are so many good people who will oppose them,” he said.

For his part, Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the bishops’ Committee on Public Affairs, said extremism will not end in the death of the two leaders alone.

The priest said a “holistic approach” and not just military offensive is needed in battling terrorism.

“Education, employment, poverty eradication and infrastructure development should only be some of the measures that this government should undertake if only to dismantle or at least weaken the influence of terrorist cells,” he said.

More than 1,000 lives have been lost in the nearly five-month war, including 163 soldiers, 822 militants and 47 civilians. CBCPNews