Thanks to Mindanao Examiner / June 22
A road leading to a small Catholic church on a remote village in the southern Philippines has been named after him – the man local folks call “buotan”. Buotan is Filipino dialect which means a “good” man. And for Muslim and Christian villagers in the town of Payao in Zamboanga Sibugay, the man they refer to is none other than Giancarlo Bossi, an Italian Catholic priest from Milan, who dreamed of owning a piece of land and start to till it together with local farmers. In that land he would have built his own small house, cook by himself and start organic farming. He uses to say too that we have to earn the life with hands and sweat, which he did anyway even when he was parish priest and that, is the only way, after the work that will lead you to real prayer and meditation. Born in Milan on February 19, 1950 and son of a family of farmers, Fr Bossi has a college degree on Industrial Technical Institute in Milan. But few in the village know, or perhaps none, that the man they call buotan was also a good basketball player. He played on the Amateur Italian Basket League. He was ordained as a missionary priest on March 18, 1978 and since 1980, Fr Bossi has worked in the parishes of Manila’s slum district in Tondo and in the towns of Siay, Payao and Bayog all in Zamboanga Sibugay province. Then the request of Payao, for lack of priests in the Prelature of Ipil, which he gladly accepted because he was going back to a place he knew very well and where the people had shown in the past deep affection to him.
The road going to the parish it is now: Father Giancarlo Bossi Street.
The 57-year old priest, a member of the Rome-based Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, was kidnapped on June 10 by rouge Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels in Payao town after celebrating mass and is being held in the jungles of Lanao del Norte province in the Muslim autonomous region. Thousands of Muslim and Christian villagers in the province, many may not have even met Fr Bossi personally, but the news of his kidnapping brought them together to pray everyday for his safe release. A web log dedicated by the Pontifical Intitute of Foreign Missions to “buotan” shows a photograph of a man’s hairy legs in what appears to be in the middle of a mangrove jungle. On its left foreground, a beautiful bird stands on a tree branch, its big brown eyes wide open as if the animal is curious of the presence of human in the wild or perhaps scared at the black barrel of an M16 automatic rifle on its opposite side. The photo has this written : Father Giancarlo Bossi