Mindanao bishops urge vigilance amid martial law
A Muslim woman joins a protest against the martial law in Mindanao during a rally at Mendiola in Manila on Friday, May 26, 2017. ROY LAGARDE
Catholic bishops in Southern Philippines are not against the martial law in the region but said it must only be “temporary” as they called for public vigilance against abuses.
Speaking for Mindanao bishops, Cardinal Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato said that while they acknowledged the questions against the military rule, the answers to it are “speculative”.
“We shall condemn any abuse of martial law and as in the past will condemn it outright if it goes in the way of evil. Let us be vigilant,” Quevedo said in a pastoral guidance issued Friday.
“We have many fears. But at present we simply do not have solid and sufficient facts to absolutely reject the declaration of Martial Law as morally reprehensible,” he said.
They exhorted the faithful to be remain calm in the midst of martial law and cooperate with the authority, “and not to provoke violent reaction”.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday declared martial law in Mindanao after fighting raged between the government forces and militants linked to Islamic state in Marawi City.
The Maute militants also torched a Catholic cathedral, houses, public buildings, including a Protestant school dormitory and abducted Fr. Teresito Suganob and a number of church personnel and teachers.
“We appeal to the hostage takers to release all of them unharmed. The victims fear death but they also have the courage to give ultimate witness to Christ,” Quevedo said.
The church leaders also offer the assurance of their prayers for the injured, and for all who have died and their families.
In denouncing terrorism, they said that it is an ideology that is totally against the tenets of any religion of peace.
“Terrorism distorts and falsifies the true meaning of any religion” Quevedo said, adding that it also “creates a world of suspicion and prejudice, of hatred and hostility”.
The cardinal also called on religious leaders to quell the tendencies towards the terrorist ideology.
“The focus of every religion is peace on earth, peace in heaven. Let us pursue together what leads to peace,” Quevedo said.
“We urge the government to remove the causes of terrorism, such as poverty and injustice, through just and accountable governance focused solely on the common good,” he said. CBCPNews