COTABATO City, Feb. 26, 2015–The head of a religious congregation has reiterated the call for peace in the southern Philippine island, praying that the controversies spawned by the Mamasapano clash involving government and rebel forces will not be used as an excuse to derail the peace talks.
While mourning the demise of 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force, as well as of the civilians and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Fr. Lauro de Guia, provincial superior of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), expresses hope that the tragedy of Jan. 25 will not be exploited by warmongers and politicians who are only after their self-interest.
“Amid voices of discord, we do not support extra-constitutional means of changing the government, nor of taking advantage of this crisis for political grandstanding or posturing,” De Guia said in a recent interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas.
“We do call on the government, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and those with direct knowledge of events, to be more forthcoming with regard to this whole incident,” he added.
The priest said he prays that both sides will remain committed to the pursuit of lasting peace in Mindanao.
“The restoration of trust must be taken up anew or rebuilt, not just between the personalities involved in the formal processes, but more critically, between the people on the ground, between communities of diverse cultures, faiths, and political persuasions,” De Guia stressed.
According to him, the Catholic faith teaches everyone to pray and strive for “communion, reconciliation, and solidarity” among all peoples, based on a “life of justice and love.”
“We will keep faith. We will continue to work for justice and peace. We will resist the temptation to violence. We will pray fervently but humbly,” the priest shared. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)