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Mindanao prelates back Martial Law

Catholic bishops in Mindanao are not opposing Martial Law declared by President Duterte but urged the public to be vigilant.

In a statement issued Friday by Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo “with the approval of bishops of Mindanao,” the bishops emphasized that “Martial Law must be temporary.”

“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,” Quevedo said.

Mindanao has at least 21 bishops in five archdioceses, 14 dioceses, vicariate, and a prelature in 27 provinces and 33 cities.

Quevedo said Martial Law “is a means of last resort” and that they “shall condemn any abuse of Martial Law and as in the past, will condemn it outright if it goes in the way of evil” and urged the public to remain 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,” Quevedo said.

Quevedo and the Mindanao bishops “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,” he added.

Quevedo offered prayers for the safety and release of Fr. Teresito “Chito” Suganob and his 14 companions. (Leslie Ann G. Aquino and PNA)