Negoziati di pace

 

L’arcivescovo di Davao Romulo Valles ha detto lo scorso 20 ottobre, alla fine del raduno della chiesa di Mindanao, MSPC, che parteciperà il prossimo 24 ottobre all’incontro tra rappresentanti del New People Army (NPA) e il Comitato creato dal sindaco i Davao Sara Duterte. Gli NPA sono il braccio armato del Fronte Democratico Nazionale (NDF) di ideologia comunista che combatte una propria guerriglia armata contro il governo filippino dal 1968.

Quelli della montagna e quelli dell pianura sono anche figli e figlie di Dio, ha detto Valles che ha poi chiarito che la Chiesa non ha una agenda nascosta o un interesse particolare in questi negoziati tranne un interesse per la pace, per lo sviluppo e il benessere di ogni persona. Negoziare è un modo positivo per portare la pace piuttosto che spararsi e uccidersi a vicenda.

In una dichiarazione rilasciata il 26 febbraio, il portavoce di NPA-Southern Mindanao Rigoberto F. Sanchez aveva dichiarato di essere aperto a discutere con il sindaco Duterte, dopo una serie di scontri tra i ribelli comunisti e le truppe governative a Paquibato e nei Distretti di Calin all’inizio di quest’anno.

Dal 1 dicembre al 30 novembre 2019 mons. Valles sarà il presidente della Conferenza Episcopale delle Filippine (CBCP) che si compone di 29 commissioni tra le quali anche la Commissione Pace e Giustizia.

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Marawi atto finale

Dopo cinque mesi di scontri, che hanno provocato più di 800 militanti islamici e 162 soldati governativi uccisi, sembra essere tornata la pace nella città di Marawi. Durante i combattimenti, circa 1700 ostaggi sono stati salvati, inclusi gli ultimi 20 ieri 16 ottobre. Molte le case e i quartieri distrutti e da ricostruire e più di 350.000 residenti accampati nelle aree circostanti. Non è confermato, ma fonti governative hanno riferito che i due protagonisti e principali terroristi – Ipsilon Hapilon e Omar Maute – sono stati uccisi in un combattimento a fuoco, durato quattro ore, dalle forze governative. Hapilon era il leader del gruppo terroristico di Abu Sayyaf poi nominato, o autonominatosi, emiro del gruppo Isis del sud-est asiatico. Omar Maute era invece uno dei due capi militari del gruppo Maute, insieme al fratello Abdullah. Il presidente Rodrigo Duterte, comunque, ha riaffermato che la legge marziale in tutta Mindanao, rimane estesa sino alla fine dell’anno, nonostante la questione sulla sua costituzionalità.

Cinque anni fa oggi

Cinque anni son passati dalla data del martirio di Fausto e la sua immagine sembra sparire all’orizzonte della nostra memoria, noi ancora a vagabondare nello scorrere lineare della vita e mi domando se si può dimenticare il passato. Alcuni dicono di sì. Eppure nella mia coscienza il passato mica passa. Vorrei ma non posso. Molte volte continuo a pensare a quello che è successo cercando di dare un senso a quello che ho sentito e veduto, cercando la verità. Non c’è niente da fare, il martirio dei nostri amici tiene sempre in scacco la nostra mente. Il tempo può fare quello che vuole, passare, rallentare o accelerare, ma ha bisogno di dimensioni spaziali per muoversi. I ritratti di Fausto e gli altri compagni oggi sono ancora lì, a volte in qualche libro, altre volte appese al frigorifero, nei calendari sul muro o conservati nella coscienza di noi che camminiamo, tiriamo avanti appunto. Presenza-con loro direi. Sono passati una decina di minuti da quando mi sono messo a scrivere ma l’immagine è ancora lì, cinque anni nello spazio insomma, come un turno di veglia nella notte, per questo posso ricordare…. oggi dopo sei anni.

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Nobel Peace Prize

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a coalition of non-governmental organizations in one hundred countries promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty. This landmark global agreement was adopted in New York on 7 July 2017.

ICAN began in Australia and was officially launched in Vienna, Austria in 2007. Our campaign’s founders were inspired by the tremendous success of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which a decade earlier had played an instrumental role in the negotiation of the anti-personnel mine ban convention, or Ottawa treaty.

Since our founding, we have worked to build a powerful global groundswell of public support for the abolition of nuclear weapons. By engaging a diverse range of groups and working alongside the Red Cross and like-minded governments, we have helped reshape the debate on nuclear weapons and generate momentum towards elimination.

On 7 July 2017, an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations voted to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – a landmark international agreement that outlaws the ultimate weapons of mass destruction and establishes a pathway to their elimination.

The Philippines signed the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 20 September 2017. It was among the co-sponsors of the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty.

Italy which hosts US nuclear weapons on its territory (Ghedi (BS) and Aviano (PN)), did not participate in the negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It voted against the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty. It claims that US nuclear weapons are essential for its security.

The United States, which possesses approximately 6,800 nuclear weapons, did not participate in the negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It has said that it intends never to join the treaty. It voted against the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty. It has failed to fulfil its legally binding disarmament obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Russia, which possesses approximately 7,000 nuclear weapons, did not participate in the negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It voted against the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty. It has failed to fulfil its legally binding disarmament obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

France, which possesses approximately 300 nuclear weapons, did not participate in the negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It has said that it intends never to join the treaty. It voted against the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty. It has failed to fulfil its legally binding disarmament obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

China, which possesses approximately 260 nuclear weapons, did not participate in the negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It abstained from voting on the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty. Although it regularly declares its support for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons, its true commitment to nuclear disarmament remains in serious doubt. It has failed to fulfil its legally binding disarmament obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Japan, which is the only nation ever to be attacked with nuclear weapons, did not formally participate in the negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It attended the first day of negotiations, but only to declare that it would be unable to negotiate constructively and in good faith. It voted against the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty. It claims that US nuclear weapons are essential for its security.

Tagle: «Missionari nel mondo ferito»

di Giorgio Bernardelli, Mondo&Missione

Il suo rapporto con i missionari, il dialogo come priorità, i migranti testimoni del Vangelo: parla il cardinale Luis Antonio Tagle arcivescovo di Manila, che a Brescia aprirà il Festival della missione

È un volto amico per tanti missionari. Quelli del Pime, in particolare, ricordano i tempi in cui da vescovo di Imus collaborava con l’allora seminario dell’Istituto a Tagaytay. Ma anche oggi che guida l’arcidiocesi di Manila ed è presidente di Caritas Internationalis il cardinale Luis Antonio Tagle continua a frequentarli spesso i missionari.

Non poteva dunque esserci testimonianza migliore della sua per aprire il 13 ottobre a Brescia la prima edizione del Festival della Missione, l’evento voluto insieme dagli istituti missionari, da Missio Italia e dalla diocesi di Brescia  per riportare l’ad gentes nelle piazze italiane. E in questa intervista a Mondo e Missione il cardinale Tagle racconta il suo sguardo sulle sfide dell’annuncio del Vangelo oggi.

Eminenza, «andate ed evangelizzate tutti i popoli»: per la Chiesa di oggi è ancora una “missione possibile” come recita il tema del Festival di Brescia?

«Credo che la risposta a questa domanda si collochi su due piani diversi. Il primo: la missione è sempre “possibile” perché è un’azione dello Spirito Santo e un mandato che viene dal Signore. È quindi parte integrante del nostro essere discepoli. Raggiungere tutti i popoli per condividere il Vangelo è un’azione resa possibile dal nostro essere discepoli guidati dallo Spirito Santo. Un discepolo o una discepola annuncia a tutti la Buona Notizia del Signore che ha visto, ascoltato e toccato. Così ogni incontro umano è una missione possibile. Insieme a questo – ed è il secondo piano – oggi abbiamo certamente bisogno di studiare e comprendere come cambia lo scenario globale. Di fronte ai molti fenomeni che vediamo svilupparsi in tutto il mondo, specialmente la paura dell’“altro” o dello straniero, e la violenza, dobbiamo trovare le strade per diventare missionari della bontà e della misericordia di Dio. Credo che questo mondo ferito abbia reso ancora più possibile e urgente per i cristiani l’impegno a proclamare la verità, la giustizia, la misericordia, l’amore e la pace, perché è proprio ciò di cui l’umanità ha più bisogno oggi».

Lo stile e il magistero di Papa Francesco stanno cambiando il mondo della missione?

«Papa Francesco continua a ricordarci i principi e lo stile della missione che hanno accompagnato la Chiesa dal Concilio Vaticano II o anche prima. In un certo senso non ha “inventato” nulla sulla missione. Vediamo come abbia riformulato orientamenti che si possono trovare nel Vaticano II e nell’esortazione apostolica Evangelii Nuntiandi di Paolo VI. Papa Francesco ci sta offrendo nuove espressioni e nuove immagini che dicono in un modo diverso quegli stessi insegnamenti. Così oggi noi li consideriamo suoi “marchi di fabbrica” sulla missione. Per esempio: l’immagine della Chiesa missionaria come una Chiesa che sa andare fuori da sé, la “Chiesa in uscita”, piuttosto che autoreferenziale; la Chiesa che raggiunge le periferie esistenziali piuttosto che rimanere in un “centro” o in una sede di potere e di comodità; la Chiesa che è gioiosa nella sua missione piuttosto che esserne appesantita; la Chiesa che si impegna nell’incontro con le persone piuttosto che porsi come una burocrazia. Queste idee non sono nuove, ma il modo di esprimerle è genuinamente di Papa Francesco. E soprattutto lui vive questi insegnamenti, non si limita a parlarne».

Che cosa ha imparato lei dai missionari che ha incontrato?

«Sono cresciuto in mezzo ai missionari, specialmente provenienti dall’Europa e dal Nord America. Attraverso il loro amore disinteressato e il loro servizio, ho imparato che annunciare la fede cristiana è qualcosa per cui vale la pena offrire la vita. La missione non è solo un’attività, ma una chiamata alla quale si risponde con convinzione e con gioia. E l’unica ragione è Gesù, non certo l’ambizione o la carriera. Dai missionari, inoltre, ho imparato anche che quando le nazioni si combattono tra loro per tante ragioni, è proprio la presenza dei missionari a testimoniare che la fede cristiana unisce i popoli e trascende tutto ciò che ci divide».

Quali nuovi sentieri sta percorrendo la missione in Asia oggi?

«La dichiarazione fondamentale e programmatica pronunciata dai vescovi dell’Asia già nel 1974 rimane valida per la missione in questo continente pure oggi: la modalità per essere missionari in Asia è il dialogo. Il dialogo della vita va portato avanti in tre principali direzioni: con le diverse religioni, con le culture e con i poveri. È una visione che non ha perso per nulla la sua attualità. Ci sono però anche nuovi elementi che provengono dalle realtà emergenti nell’Asia contemporanea: il crescente fondamentalismo religioso e politico, il terrore organizzato, le migrazioni dei popoli, il traffico di esseri umani, le nuove forme di schiavitù, il degrado dell’ambiente, l’indebolimento delle culture tradizionali asiatiche, l’influenza dei social media, la tendenza della tecnologia e della scienza a rimodellare la vita quotidiana. Queste sono alcune delle nuove religioni, delle nuove culture e delle nuove povertà che incontriamo oggi. Come dialogare con loro? Come dialogare con partner che rifiutano questo atteggiamento? Come rafforzare una cultura del dialogo in un mondo profondamente diviso? Queste preoccupazioni sono al centro delle nostre riflessioni sulla missione oggi in Asia».

La Chiesa filippina e la missione ad gentes: che cosa la colpisce di più nelle esperienze dei missionari filippini?

«Per molto tempo ci siamo considerati fruitori dell’opera missionaria degli stranieri. Oggi invece vediamo sempre di più missionari filippini lavorare all’estero. Questo è un fatto significativo per molte ragioni. C’è un tempo per ricevere e c’è un tempo per condividere e donare. Non riceviamo il Vangelo per tenercelo per noi; al contrario, lo riceviamo solo per poterlo un giorno condividere. Ora per gli “eredi” è il tempo di far crescere questo dono su un nuovo terreno. Ed è un imperativo per la Chiesa delle Filippine perché la metà della popolazione cristiana in Asia si trova in questo Paese. In mezzo a noi devono sorgere più missionari per l’Asia e per il resto del mondo. In questi ultimi anni, abbiamo anche capito, però, che i nostri missionari migliori sono i lavoratori migranti. Lasciano il nostro Paese in cerca di lavoro, ma trovano sempre anche una missione dovunque vadano a lavorare. Attraverso di loro le chiese si riempiono di persone, di musica e di sorrisi. Dobbiamo offrire una formazione solida ai laici così che possano essere veri missionari ovunque vadano».

Tanti giovani oggi trascorrono brevi periodi in missione: come vede questo tipo di esperienze? E cosa raccomanderebbe loro?

«Mi sento di incoraggiare questa pratica. Ho visto molti giovani provenienti dall’Europa crescere nella loro umanità e nella loro fede, dopo aver vissuto un periodo di servizio come volontari nelle Filippine. Tornano nei loro Paesi d’origine più maturi e con orizzonti più grandi. Ma non sono solo loro a essere ispirati e aiutati: anche noi dei Paesi che li ospitiamo siamo arricchiti dalla loro presenza. Molti giovani filippini si sono lasciati coinvolgere in servizi comunitari proprio dopo aver visto questi studenti stranieri mostrare così tanto amore e dedizione per noi. E poi, data anche la sfiducia e le discriminazioni che attraversano il nostro mondo di oggi, questi giovani possono certamente diventare portatori di riconciliazione, amicizia e pace».

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“Missionaries in the Wounded World”

His relationship with missionaries, the dialogue as a priority and the migrants as witnesses of the Gospel:  Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, speaks at the opening of the Mission Festival in Brescia (Italy)

It is a friendly face for so many missionaries. Those of Pime, in particular, recall the times when Tagle, Bishop of Imus, teamed up with the then Seminary of the Institute in Tagaytay. But even today, now that he leads the Archdiocese of Manila and is the head of Caritas Internationalis, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle continues to meet often with the missioners.

There could therefore be no better than his own testimony to open the First Edition of the Festival of the Mission which will be held on the 13th of October in Brescia, an event planned by the missionary institutes, Missio Italia and the diocese of Brescia in order to bring “ad gentes” to the Italian society. In this interview with M&M Cardinal Tagle recounts his views about the challenges of proclaiming the Gospel today.

Interviewer: “Go and evangelize all peoples”: is still a “mission possible” for the Church today?

“I think the answer to this question is on two different levels. The first: Mission is always “possible” because it is an action of the Holy Spirit and a mandate that comes from the Lord. It is therefore an integral part of our being disciples. Reaching All Peoples to Share the Gospel is an action made possible by our being disciples led by the Holy Ghost. A disciple announces to everyone the Good News of the Lord who he has seen, heard and touched. Thus every human encounter is a possible mission. Along with this – and it is the second level – today we certainly need to study and understand how the global scenario is changing. In the face of the many phenomena we see in the world, especially the fear of the “other” or the alien, and violence, we must find ways to become missionaries of God’s goodness and mercy. I believe this wounded world has made even more possible and imperative for Christians to commit themselves in proclaiming truth, justice, mercy, love and peace, because it is precisely what humanity mostly needs today. ”

Pope Francis’s style and magisterium are changing the mission in the World?

“Pope Francis continues to remind us of the principles and the style of the mission that accompanied the Church from the Second Vatican Council or even before. In a way he did not “invent” anything about the mission. Let’s see how I reformulated the guidelines that can be found in Vatican II and in the apostolic exhortation by Evangelii Nuntiandi of Paul VI. Pope Francis is offering us new expressions and new images that show in a different way those same teachings. So today we consider these our “trademarks” on the mission. For example: the image of the missionary Church as a Church that can go out of its own, the “outgoing Church” rather than self-referential; the Church that reaches the existential suburbs rather than staying in a “center” or in a place of power and comfort; the Church that is joyful in its mission rather than being burdened; the Church that engages in meeting with people rather than being bureaucratic. These ideas are not new, but the way to express them is genuinely of Pope Francis. And above all, he lives these teachings, he does not just talk about it. ”

What did you learn from the missionaries you met?

“I grew up among missionaries, especially from Europe and North America. Through their selfless love and service, I have learned that proclaiming the Christian faith is something that is worth living for. Mission is not just an activity, but a call to which you respond with conviction and joy. And the only reason is the presence of Jesus, certainly not ambition or career. From missionaries, moreover, I have learned that when nations fight each other for so many reasons, it is just the presence of missionaries who testify that Christian faith that unites peoples and transcends everything that divides us. ”

What are the new paths to follow today in Asia?

“The fundamental and programmatic declaration made by the bishops of Asia already in 1974 remains valid for the mission on this continent today: the way to be missionaries in Asia is dialogue. The dialogue of life must be pursued in three main directions: with different religions, with cultures and with the poor. It is a vision that has not lost its novelty at all. There are, however, new elements coming from emerging realities in contemporary Asia: growing religious and political fundamentalism, organized terror, peoples’ migrations, trafficking in human beings, new forms of slavery, the degradation of the environment, the weakening of traditional Asian cultures, the influence of social media, the trend of technology and science all of these are remodeling everyday life. These are some of the new religions, new cultures and new poverty that we encounter today. How to talk to them? How do you talk to partners who refuse this attitude (of dialogue)? How to strengthen a culture of dialogue in a deeply divided world? These concerns are at the center of our reflections on the mission in Asia today ».

The Philippine Church and mission ad gentes: What is the most striking experiences you see in Filipino missionaries?

“For a long time, we have considered ourselves as beneficiaries of the missionary work of foreigners. Today, however, we see more and more Filipino missionaries working abroad. This is a significant fact for many reasons. There is a time to receive and there is a time to share and donate. We do not receive the Gospel to hold for us; on the contrary, we only receive it only to be able to share it one day. Now for “heirs” is the time to grow this gift on a new ground. And it is an imperative for the Church of the Philippines because half of the Christian population in Asia is in this country. Among us, more missionaries are to come for Asia and the rest of the world. In recent years, we have also realized that our best missionaries are migrant workers. They leave our country looking for work, but they always find a mission wherever they go to work. Through them the churches (around the world) are filled with people, music and smiles. So we must offer solid training to this lay people so that they can be real missionaries wherever they go. ”

Many young people spend short exposures on mission: how do you see this kind of experience? And what you would recommend to them?

“I feel I encourage by this practice. I have seen many young people from Europe grow in their humanity and their faith after having lived a period of service as volunteers in the Philippines. They come back home to their most mature and bigger horizons. But it’s not just for them to be inspired and helped: we, too, of the countries we host are enriched by their presence. Many young Filipinos have become involved in community services just after seeing these foreign youths to show so much love and dedication to us. And then, given the distrust and discrimination that we are going through today’s world, these young people can certainly become bearers of reconciliation, friendship and peace. ”


 

An open letter to the Muslim Friends of Mindanao

I write this open letter as a friend in solidarity with you who suffer for what is going on in our beautiful land of Mindanao. I dare to say “our beautiful land” even if I am Italian, but I have been in Mindanao since 1977 and I am still here in Zamboanga. This gives me the courage to write this letter to you as Muslim religious leaders. It is the humble voice of a Christian religious leader who journeys with you in this sad time of our life in Mindanao. I was in the seventies a negotiator for the MNLF in the area of Zamboanga Del Norte. I have studied and taught Islam in Italy.  After a sad experience in the early eighties in my efforts to defend the Muslim communities in my mission of Siocon, Zamboanga Del Norte, I started in 1984 the Silsilah Dialogue Movement in Zamboanga City. I have also been the national secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for the mission on Interreligious dialogue. At that time I helped to start the Bishops Ulama Forum that is now called Bishops Ulama Conference (BUC).

These and many other experiences in the Philippines and other countries didn’t stop me to be with you in Mindanao, Yes! I continue my mission here, even if I lost my dear friend, Fr. Salvatore Carzedda, PIME in 1992 in Zamboanga City killed in his mission of dialogue and peace. I also lost other friends and alumni of Silsilah killed in Jolo, Basilan and Tawi-tawi areas along the years for the same mission.

This letter is, first of all, a sign of solidarity with many of you Muslim religious leaders who are agonizing in this situation and time. Some of you continue to say that those who do terrorism are not Muslims because Islam is a religion of Peace. But allow me to remind you that there are also those who bring the name of Islam, especially now as Abu Sayyaf, ISIS, Maute groups doing acts of violence and terrorism. They are usually young people who claim to be Muslims and even dare to say that they are more faithful Muslims than you to the point that they also threaten you. Some of you are afraid to face this situation and others, unfortunately, play a double game, most of the time to save their lives or to have advantages in this situation. Indeed, all of us suffer and I appeal to you to save Islam and Mindanao from the hands of those who use Islam pushed by some foreign or local player behind this sad situation.
On the part of the Christians, there is fear that becomes hatred in many cases. What can we do? How can we build peace in this situation? How can the government implement the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) in this stage of terror covered by beautiful promises, often presented in a form of humanitarian assistance and solidarity on the part of some politicians and other local and international groups? We cannot be blind anymore of many killings, massacres, cutting of the heads, often done saying “Bismillah” (in the name of God).

Allow me to say that the situation is alarming in Mindanao and I appeal to your courage, sense of responsibility and love for the real message of peace of Islam. Do not be contented only of gestures of goodness that we see here and there to prove the goodness of Islam. I too can testify to so many signs of goodness among Muslims and I treasure them and I continue in my mission with hope and love for all.

I am with you and other good Muslims and Christians who continue the mission of love with Silsilah and other groups who do their best to build peace, but it is not enough. I wish to see more courage on your part. Do not be afraid. The Holy Qur’an reminds you: “O humankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes that you may know each other. Truly, the most honored of you before God is the most pious of you.” (Surah 49:13) Well, you have the chance to save lives in many ways as Muslim religious leaders. If you do not act with a sense of urgency now others who claim to be Muslims continue to oppress and kill and are ready to be killed, guided by their belief that doing so they can go to paradise.

Please receive this open letter as a sign of friendship and great respect for your religion and for the many Muslims of Mindanao that are suffering. Silsilah will continue its mission. I will also do my part, but please do more together in a form of Ijma (consensus) for the common good of all. This is my hope and prayer. Padayon!

Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME
Founder of Silsilah Dialogue Movement

Fr. Chito Soganub

“The Prelature of St. Mary’s in Marawi welcomes the news that Fr. Teresito ‘Chito’ Soganub, its Vicar General, has been rescued by the Armed Forces of the Philippines at around 11 p.m. last night, September 16, 2017 near Bato (Ali) Mosque in Marawi City together with one other undisclosed companion,” its press statement read.

It said the entire Duyog Marawi team, an accompaniment journey with the people of Marawi by the Prelature in partnership with the Redemptorists,  “exploded with shouts of joy” in the midst of its monthly meeting as Fr. Nono Reteracion, CSsR “read the confirmation from several military personnel.”

Initial reports reaching the media said Soganub, also Acting Rector of the St. Mary’s cathedral and chaplain at the Mindanao State University (MSU) main campus here, and another hostage escaped from their captors near the Bato Ali mosque amid heavy firefight and that as the two were fleeing, they were identified by the military who brought them to a safer place.

Persistent media queries prompted Marine Colonel Edgardo Arevalo, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Public Affairs Office to tell Defense reporters in the national capital shortly before 10 a.m. Sunday that they were “still validating that information. As of now, we cannot still give details. The rescue operation is still ongoing,”

Marawi, Day 117

The military announced through a press release late Saturday evening that the troops had taken control of the Bato Mosque and Amaitul Islamiya Marawi Foundation at 5 p.m. These two structures the military said were Maute strongholds But where are the hostages?

In a statement sent to the Defense Press Corps at 11:41 p.m. on Saturday,  Arevalo said the military had “fiercely fought five hours” before taking control of Bato Ali mosque and Amaitul Islamiya Marawi Foundation (JIMF) at 5 p.m. The military described these as “two of the Maute-ISIS Group’s strongholds.”

Questions have been raised by the media and the public if Fr. Chito escaped, was rescued by the military, was abandoned or released by the Maute Group, if  leaders Abdullah Maute and the Abu Sayyaf’s Isnilon Hapilon, the alleged Southeast Asian Emir of the ISIS, are still in Marawi or have escaped.

A resident who was watching the air strikes on the main battle area in downtown Marawi from the MSU golf course here Sunday noon told MindaNews he hopes the fighting will, indeed be over soon.

But the resident, among the 359,680 persons displaced by the war, according to statistics of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, said they hope they will not be told that Marawi has been liberated but the terrorists escaped.

(Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

New Apostolic Nuncio

MANILA— Pope Francis has appointed Italian Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia as the new Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines. The Vatican made the announcement on Tuesday at 12 noon (6pm, Manila time), a day after the pontiff arrived back in Rome from a 5-day apostolic visit to Colombia. At the time of his new assignment, the 59-year-old archbishop was nuncio to Lebanon, a position he has held for the past eight years, since 2009.

Caccia’s new post in Manila will be his second assignment as papal ambassador, succeeding Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, also an Italian, who was transferred to Croatia in July this year. A native of Milan, Caccia was born on February 24, 1958, and ordained as a priest on June 11, 1983. In September 2009, he was elevated to the rank as of archbishop. Prior to his appointment in Lebanon, Archbishop Caccia was the Assessor for General Affairs of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. CBCPNews

Marawi 6

A tutt’oggi rimane irrisolto il conflitto in Marawi. Il generale Gen. Danilo Pamonag, comandante della Task Force Joint Special Operations Trident, ha tuttavia dichiarato che il rafforzamento del morale dei soldati ha permesso grossi progressi e successi contro i terroristi e che la tenuta dei ribelli Maute in Marawi City diminuisce giorno dopo giorno. “È solo una questione di tempo e la crisi finirà”. In quasi quattro mesi di schermaglie sono morti 145 soldati e 650 militanti islamici.
Nei combattimenti almeno 45 civili hanno perso la vita e più di 400.000 persone sono state costrette a lasciare la città.

Lo scorso 11 settembre il presidente Duterte ha fatto la sua quarta visita aile forze armate che combattono i militanti simpatizzanti dell’Isis. Nel suo discorso ha menzionato ancora la sua nonna, maranao, nativa della provincia in cui sorge Marawi e, rivolgendosi ai soldati, ha promesso loro che alla fine della guerra li manderà a Hong Kong in vacanza (Kayo, pagkatapos nitomaawa ang Allah, Hong Kong kayo lahat. [applause]). Si è poi recato alla grande moschea islamica, che i soldati hanno liberato dalla presenza del gruppo Maute il 24 agosto. Non è mancata una visita finale al ponte Baloi, in Barangay Mapandi, la zona liberata, ma luogo delle più dure e recenti sanguinose battaglie, per foto di gruppo con i soldati là di guardia.

Riconoscimento a p. Peter Geremia

L’altro ieri sera Padre Peter Geremia mi ha mostrato la lettera della AY Foundation con cui lo si informava di avere ricevuto il 30mo SAINT THERESA OF CALCUTTA AWARD (STCA) for social concern and services.
Il premio gli verra’ dato a Makati il prossimo 21 settembre 2017
Siamo contenti per lui e con lui e lo accompagniamo spiritualmente in questo importante riconoscimento del suo lavoro missionario e di promozione umana tra i piu’ poveri.
Mabuhay!
p.Fernando

The killing of children

The President is having a very successful campaign against suspected drug dealers and drug users. The killing of a 17-year-old Grade 11 student, Kian Loyd delos Santos, by police in an anti-drug operation was just one too many. The police claim that all the dead, including the boy, resisted arrest and fought back. However, witnesses and CCTV footage of the incident show that the boy was dragged and shot dead.

There is no conclusive evidence that any of the 94 people killed in anti-drugs operations in Bulacan and Metro Manila two weeks ago were drug dealers and had resisted arrest or had fought back. Many in the Philippines are shocked at the news that as many as 31 minors have been shot dead during the past twelve months. The tough-talking and feared President strengthened his determination to pursue the war-on-drugs and said that it would continue relentlessly. He warned drug pushers that they will face “either jail or hell.”

“Illegal drugs are the root cause of much evil and so much suffering that weaken the social fabric and deters foreign investment from pouring in,” he said.

Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David spoke out against it and condemned the killing of Kian. “This is one very specific case where an innocent individual, who happens to be just a boy, a Grade 11 student, you snuff out the future of a child,” David said in a phone interview with Rappler on Friday, August 18. “That really crushes my heart as bishop. I cannot possibly keep quiet about this,” said David, the incoming vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). He is one of the most outspoken bishops against extrajudicial killings (EJKs).

The targeting of children is not unusual. The authorities look down upon them. The move by the authorities to change the juvenile justice and welfare law and reduce the minimum age of criminal liability to nine years old is still pending in the congress. In a speech to the Boy Scouts, the President said children in conflict with the law have criminal minds.

Without evidence against the suspects, their names are listed by local officials and are thereby judged guilty and arrested, jailed or even executed. The President praised the big “success” of the operation. The rule of law and due process is ignored and for many Filipinos of conscience, it is extrajudicial killing.The police vigorously deny it. Some commentators say that as many as ten thousand suspects have died in the war on drugs, killed by police and vigilantes. The vigilantes, some say, are police in disguise and they are paid a bonus for every killing. This cannot be confirmed. The owners of the funeral parlors where the bodies are brought pay the police to bring them more bodies, some reports say. The families of the victims have to borrow heavily to pay for the expensive funeral. A report by Reuters last June 29 revealed that some police bring the dead bodies to hospitals as part of a cover up.

The amazing thing is that for a so-called Catholic country that is the Philippines, surveys say the tough talking President has approval ratings as high as 80 percent. Some say many Filipinos give approval in a survey out of fear. The President who apparently enjoys wide popularity said he would kill human rights advocates too to show them what human rights violations were. Later his communications officials said he didn’t mean it.

In the Archdiocese of Dagupan, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, former head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, ordered that the church bells in his diocese be rung for 15 minutes every day for three months to protest the killings. This is needed, he said, to arouse the people who have become “cowards in expressing anger against evil.”

“The sounding of the bells is a call to stop approval of the killings,” Villegas said in a statement read last week in churches in his archdiocese in Pangasinan province.“The country is in chaos. The officer who kills is rewarded and the slain get the blame. The corpses could no longer defend themselves from accusations that they ‘fought back,’” he said. “Why are we no longer horrified by the sound of the gun and blood flowing on the sidewalks? Why is nobody raging against drugs that were brought in from China?” Villegas asked, referring to a huge drugs shipment that managed to pass through Manila’s ports under the watch of customs officials appointed by Duterte.

And so it is that the voices of the outspoken, vocal bishops are being heard. In Caloocan City, Bishop David organized a walk for peace. In the Archdiocese of Manila, Archbishop Cardinal Tagle issued a pastoral letter that did not condemn the killings but said: “We knock on the consciences of those who kill even the helpless, especially those who cover their faces with bonnets, to stop wasting human lives.”

This is a time for people of conscience to know and speak the truth, to be prophetic, to proclaim the value of every life, to stand for the truth, justice, human dignity, due process and the rule of law so that all people will be protected and safe from home invasion and the arbitrary killing of innocent people.

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