As the conflict enters its second month, “Without these foundations, there can be no peace,” said the prelate. “Whoever planned to divide the Christians and Muslims is probably pissed off now.” The cardinal calls on Filipinos to be “attentive” to the “signs of love, hope, and light” amid the violence in Mindanao. The Catholic Church remains committed to the displaced.
Manila (AsiaNews/CBCPNews) – Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, spoke about the ongoing violence in Marawi, calling on Filipino Christians and Muslims to unite against extremism.
On 23 May, the Maute terrorist group attacked the city on Mindanao Island, where most Filipino Muslims live. Violent clashes between government forces and militias forced the evacuation of more than 200,000 residents, causing a major humanitarian emergency. Thousands of families are now in different reception centres, in Iligan and nearby towns. Many others have found shelter with friends and relatives.
After President Duterte warned of the danger of ethno-religious tensions, local Muslim leaders have distanced themselves from Maute's extremism. From the start of the crisis, the Catholic Church has called for unity and solidarity by providing assistance to displaced persons and victims of the conflict.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila called on the country’s Christians and Muslims to stand together against extremism.
Sharing his thoughts about the ongoing siege in Marawi City, he said people, whatever religion they practice, must work together against those whose only desire is to destroy.
The cardinal said stories of Muslims and Christians helping each other could be a strong foundation towards recovery for those affected by the conflict.
“Whoever planned to divide the Christians and Muslims is probably pissed off now. They were unsuccessful. Instead, [what] we have witnessed is a communion,” Tagle said.
“This is what gives us real hope. This affirms that we belong to one human family,” he added.
The prelate also called on Filipinos to be “attentive” to the “signs of love, hope, and light” amid violence in Mindanao.
The Manila archbishop stressed that decency and humanity must continue to unify all Filipinos.
“Peace can only be achieved by truth, justice, and love. Without these foundations, there can be no peace,” he said.
The local church in Iligan, meanwhile, continues to attend to the needs of the thousands of families displaced by the clash between government troopers and the Maute terrorist group.
The Diocese of Iligan’s Social Action Center said that aside from relief goods, clothing, and medicine, they have distributed a number of water filters.
But the diocese said more assistance, particularly hygiene kits, blankets, folding beds, and kitchenware, is needed as the crisis entered its second month.
It said coloring, writing, and art materials would also be a big help to help children traumatized by war.
The Caritas Manila is also sending another Php 500,000 to the diocese for rice, food and water.
The social action arm of the Manila archdiocese had earlier sent Php 500,000 and 100 cavans of rice as initial aid to the residents affected by the crisis in Marawi City.