My prayers to all the people of Marawi: for all those who were kidnapped, taken as hostages, murdered and their families, those homes, residences and churche were burned and those who are displaced due to the recent violence that erupted. Our special prayers to Fr. Chito Sunganob, and church personnel who were taken forcibly while praying in the cathedral. We assure too our unity to our Catholic and Muslim brothers and sisters who profess in the same God/Allah.

With all men and women of good will, I join many voices of condemnation of acts of violence and terrorism in the name of religion which is a very contradiction of what religion is.

Martial Law was declared by our president for sixty days in entire Mindanao. It should remain limited, as it should be, in time and space. We remember with horrors and abuses of the past Marial law declared by Marcos. Now the constitution has limited its declaration for reasons of subversion and external aggression, with the approval of the legislature. Let our law makers decide it legality.

The people of Mindanao are more aware of their situation which goes beyond an isolated and temporary acts of terrorism in Marawi; and their pastors have already made a statement that Martial Law should never be the last resort. The bishops invite their faithful ask these questions: “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?”

I also ask the same questions with them and all the people of the Philippines. I definitely agree with them that Martial Law should be temporary and limited.

The road to be taken is never a Martial Rule but justice and peace. Violence thrive in an atmosphere of injustice, poverty, lack of respect for the dignity of any human being and tribe and the dishonest pursuit of the good and betterment of only the minority of Muslims or Christians alike. Take away these causes through good and moral governance and we will have peace in Mindanao. Martial Law is not and never will be a permanent solution.

I pray with all that God/Allah will guide our feet in the way of true peace