Pursue What Leads to Peace (Statement of the Mindanao Bishops on Marawi and Martial Law)

Photo Credit: CBCP News Website

To All People of Good Will:

 

We, Catholic Bishops of Mindanao, address this Statement to every Mindanawon. We originally intended to respond to the requests of our Catholic faithful who asked for pastoral guidance on the issue of Martial Law.

 

We pray for all the murdered innocent victims in Marawi and ask the Lord to protect all the families that have fled to safety.

 

We condemn the terrorist acts that have caused the loss of many innocent lives, the burning of homes, public buildings, including a Protestant school dormitory and a Catholic Cathedral.

 

We condemn the unconscionable kidnapping of teachers and church personnel.

 

We pray for the safety of all the kidnapped, of Fr. Teresito Suganob and his companions. 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.

 

In the strongest terms we condemn terrorism in its various forms. It is an ideology that is totally against the tenets of any religion of peace. Especially so when terrorism is perpetrated while our Muslim brothers and sisters are preparing for the holy month of Ramadhan. Terrorism distorts and falsifies the true meaning of any religion. It destroys harmonious relationships among peoples of different faiths. It creates a world of suspicion and prejudice, of hatred and hostility.

 

The President of the Philippines has responded to the Marawi crisis by declaring Martial Law in the entire Mindanao. Many criticise the decision as reminiscent of the horrors of a past dictatorship. Others support the decision as justified.

 

We are aware that the problems of peace and order, of the continuing disruptive activities of other rebel groups, the problems of criminality and drugs, of corruption and underdevelopment are in every nook and corner of Mindanao. Mindanao problems go beyond the city limits of Marawi.

 

Our Catholic faithful have asked for pastoral guidance regarding Martial Law. We are guided by the Sacred Scriptures and by the social teachings of the Church. St. Paul exhorts us to “pursue what leads to peace” (Rom. 14: 19).

 

Martial Law is a means of last resort. Are moral principles fulfilled? Were other means to resolve the deep and wide serious problems of Mindanao impractical and ineffective? Will the positive effects of Martial Law outweigh the negative effects? Will there be probability of success? Will it bring about a culture of accountability and end a culture of impunity? Will Martial Law increase human rights violations? Will Martial Law be abused for evil purposes?

 

The answers to many questions are speculative. 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. But we are certainly agreed that Martial Law must be temporary.

 

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.

 

We exhort everyone to be calm in the face of Martial Law, to be obedient to the just commands of lawful authority, and not to provoke violent reaction. 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.

 

The focus of every religion is peace on earth, peace in heaven. Let us pursue together what leads to peace. Let all religious teachers and leaders quell the tendencies towards the terrorist ideology. Together let us pursue what leads to peace. Let us pray for peace and work for peace.

 

God bless the people of Marawi. God bless all Mindanawons.

 

With the approval of the Bishops of Mindanao,

 

 

+Orlando B. Cardinal Quevedo, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Cotabato
26 May 2017

Building Homes, Building Hope

The housing community in Dumlog, Talisay City

In the early 1990s, two Divine Word Missionaries, Fr. Heinz Kulüke, SVD and Fr. Max Abalos, SVD led the journey with the poor and the marginalized sectors of Cebu City, Philippines. They got involved in the concrete life situations of the fisher folks, urban poor, informal settlers, prostituted women and children and the scavengers of the four dumpsites of Metro Cebu.

 

It was also during this time, that another priest, Fr. John Iacomo, who was very active in the prison ministry started building up kindergartens as a long-term preventive measure for the children of today not to become the prisoners of tomorrow.

 

However, in the process, Fr. John also realized that if children would not have decent homes, and still have the same environment that would not promote good values, they might still go wayward and eventually end up in prison. It would be a never-ending cycle.

Vegetables garden in the subdivision

So, he initiated the San Pio Village project. It kicked off in 2006 and most of the houses were sponsored by the Habitat for Humanity, a foundation that put faith into action by building affordable homes in order to break the cycle of poverty.

 

However, due to health reasons, Fr. John had to go back to Australia. The project was turned over to Fr. Heinz Kulüke, SVD. The new management asked the leadership of the SVD congregation’s social arm, the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation – Integrated Development Corporation (JPIC-IDC) to manage San Pio Village.

 

Later on, with the leadership of JPIC-IDC, more houses were created and more structures and services were erected: livelihood building, cooperative building, drainage system, water pumps, concrete gate and barriers, multi-purpose building, basketball court, playground and piped water system.

The image of San Pio inside the subdivision

 

Eventually, the word “Janssenville” was attached to San Pio Village as a tribute to the founder of the SVD, St. Arnold Janssen. The JPIC leaders then started calling the housing beneficiaries as their “home partners.”

 

Also, more JPIC-IDC programs and projects were implemented in the village, like scholarship, livelihood, technical and vocational support to selected homeowners.

 

The JPIC-IDC is rooted in the vision of “fullness of life in a transformed society” and it commits to five very important missions: (1) women and children development; (2) human and community development; (3) economic and cooperative development; (4) education, and (5) disaster preparedness and emergency response and rehabilitation.

 

The home partners practice proper waste segregation

 

Communicating Climate Change

Communicating Climate Change

 

COMMUNICATING CLIMATE CHANGE: Inviting you all a forum on Media and Environment at the Titus Brandsma Center (24 Acacia Street, New Manila Quezon City) this coming March 31, 2017 from 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm. Admission is FREE! Registration starts at 12:30 pm. For more inquiries, call 726-6054 or text 0995-9944-285.

 

Speakers:

  1. Prof. Ruth Guzman (Chairperson of the Philippine Association of Tertiary Level Educational Institutions in Environmental Protection and Management

 

  1. Atty. Mary Ann Lucille Sering (Former Vice-Chairperson of the Climate Change Commission)

 

  1. Prof. Crispin Maslog (Chairperson of Asian Media Information and Communication Center Inc.)

 

  1. Fr. Dexter Toledo (Chairperson of Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement)

 

 

Kalinga sa Pagtulog

Kalinga: Caring is our Business

Kalinga: Caring is our Business

In Arnold Janssen Kalinga Center’s desire to offer care to the marginalized especially the homeless, we launch tonight the “Kalinga sa Pagtulog” – a Night Shelter Program. Meet our first of the 15 beneficiaries.
We hope to do this on an experimental basis of 2 nights a week, from 8pm-6am the following day. It begins with a registration followed by hygiene and showers; then prayers and life sharing; lastly, preparing their mats and blankets.
Kalinga: Caring is our Business

Kalinga: Caring is our Business

With a secured place for the night and a prayer, they wake up fresh and ready to face again tomorrow. You are most welcome to come and visit us.
Meet Jesus among the poor. 😀
Credit:Fr. Flavie Villanueva, SVD
Kalinga: Caring is our Business

Kalinga: Caring is our Business

Awesome Pollinators

Entrance of Monfort Bat Sanctuary

Entrance of Monfort Bat Sanctuary

Monfort Bat Cave (Samal Island), Davao Region, Philippines:

The largest known colony of an estimated 2.5 million

Geoffroy’s Rousette fruit bats (Rousettus amplexicaudatus)

in the world.

These bats are the major pollinators of durian.

Interestingly, they also show no sign of slowing down.

Female bats here in Samal are continuously pregnant,

a departure from the bats’ usual seasonal gestation habits.

Wow.

Bats!

Bats!

 

Bats...

Bats…

 

...bats...

…bats…

 

..and more bats!

..and more bats!

Youth Groups Call for Peace in Mindanao and the World in 2016 and Beyond

Peace Advocates form a solidarity circle for their concluding activity ‘candle-lighting for peace

Peace Advocates form a solidarity circle for their concluding activity ‘candle-lighting for peace

 

CEBU CITY (Press Release) – On November 29, 2015, different youth groups had a small dialogue and candle-lighting in celebration of the Mindanao Week of Peace 2015 and in observance of the International Day in Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The event was initiated and facilitated by Jamil Faisal Saro Adiong, president of the Federation of Muslim Student Associations (FeMSA) through his #PeaceNaTa Campaign, a campaign which aims to reconcile the history-old gap between the Moros and the non-Moros.

 

The two-hour activity was joined by a few individuals and organizations such as Akbayan! Youth, Cebuano Youth Ambassadors, UP – Union of Progressive Students, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, Coalition of Democrats, Carolinian Circle of Young Diplomats, First Time Voters’ Network, Islamic Dawah Youth Association of Cebu and the Federation of Muslim Students Associations (FeMSA Cebu) with its member organizations Muslim Lancers Association, SWU – Muslim Students Association and Carolinian Muslim Students Association.

 

“We call on everyone to take active support and participation in education and peace advocacy. In this way, we will get to understand one’s differences and one’s facts. In this way, we will get to enjoy our shared common grounds and our distinct uniqueness. In this way, we will get to realize our visions of peace and coexistence. In this way, we will get to live with love and not hatred, happiness and not fear”, said Adiong.

 

Collectively, they:

 

Call on the public to go out and vote on May 2016 the candidates whom they think are best in addressing the problems of the state which includes the peace and conflict issues in Mindanao; call on the public to be in support for the indigenous peoples which include the Moros and the Lumads and their pursuit to peace and social justice.

 

Call on the members of the bicameral committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law to be more focused on their tasks as lawmakers amidst the fast approaching May 2016 elections and most importantly pass a CAB-based basic law that shall really address the problems of the ARMM.

 

Call on Senator Sonny Angara’s stronger push for the passage of Senate Bill 2474 that shall mandate all curriculum to study Moro History, Cultures and Identity Studies as this would be a great opportunity for the Filipinos to further understand the conflict situation in Mindanao and thus would be able to help promote a culture of peace.

 

Call on the international community to be in solidarity with the Palestinian people (Note: the dialogue was done during the International Day in Solidarity with the Palestinian People) and on their pursuit to peace and social justice; to unite and open their arms to refugees such that of Syrians and Iraqis, and all other nationalities whose homelands are war-torn; counter terrorism by means of education; and call on the international leaders and the private individuals to be more vigilant and careful in absorbing information from the Internet as this has been proven to be the mechanism of recruitment by voluntary and involuntary of both the extremist terrorist groups and the ethnocentrically fundamentalist reactors. #####

 

 

Contact Person:

Jamil Faisal Saro Adiong, +639178237071; jamilfaisaladiong@gmail.com

https://highstairs-a.akamaihd.net/HighStairs/cr?t=BLFF&g=342010b4-dea7-4ee4-a4a2-a691dcfda6b2https://highstairs-a.akamaihd.net/HighStairs/cr?t=BLFF&g=342010b4-dea7-4ee4-a4a2-a691dcfda6b2

Rest in Peace, Mother Kiking Lim-Llanos!

Mother Kiking Lim-Llanos (Circa 2009)

Mother Kiking Lim-Llanos (Circa 2009)

 

It is on a sad note that while we open the Year of Mercy today, I also received the news that Basilisa “Kiking” Lim-Llanos, one of the parish officials in my former mission area in Olutanga Island, was shot dead in their house at 4 am. Known to the people at the Municipality of Talusan as a devoted public official, she is simply “Mother Kiking” to the SVD circles. She was very committed in looking after the needs of SVD priests. I remembered back then, when my companion Fr. Manny Suico, SVD decided that we took the Dipolog route in going to Olutanga Island, it was Mother Kiking picked us up. Those who know Mindanao geography will realize that Dipolog is actually still very far from our mission area, and that Zamboanga City and even Pagadian City are actually better alternatives. But she did not complain. She happily made sure that we can reach our mission area safely and comfortably.

 

Even the SVD Fratres who had their summer camp exposures in the Diocese of Ipil (where the SVD parishes belong) also experienced her motherly love and superb hospitality.

 

Today, by the way, is also the birthday of her husband Kuya Noel. I could only imagine how difficult it must be for him. I am one in prayers. God bless her and have mercy on her.

 

The photo posted here is my very first photo in my mission area. We were in a wooden banca on our way to Hula-Hula port, the gateway to the Olutanga Island. Mother Kiking, you will always be remembered!