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Philippine bishop seeks Holy Week cease-fire in southern province
Catholic News Service

BASILAN, Philippines — The bishop in conflict-ridden Basilan province called for a cease-fire April 15 as clashes between government troops and Abu Sayyaf rebels entered its fourth day.

"I call on our brother Muslims to please respect our observance of the Holy Week," Bishop Martin Jumoad of Isabela said in a radio broadcast to his prelature.

Bishop Jumoad's appeal followed clashes that began in the town of Tipo-Tipo April 11, which claimed the lives of at least 20 people, mostly Abu Sayyaf Islamic militant fighters, and the wounding of at least 45 others, the Asian church news portal ucanews.com reported.

"Just as we respect the Ramadan, I hope also (the Muslims) will respect the Holy Week," the bishop said.

He said that despite the fighting, Catholics will continue "to profess our faith because we trust that God will provide our security."

"I continue to challenge our Catholic faithful, particularly in areas where there is danger, I challenge them to still profess our faith," Bishop Jumoad said.

Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, armed forces chief of staff, said there will be no letup in government operations against the rebels even during the observance of Holy Week.

"We will continue to run after the (Abu Sayyaf). There is no letup in Basilan or in Sulu," Bautista told reporters in Zamboanga after visiting wounded soldiers in a military hospital April 15.

The fighting in Tipo-Tipo has already resulted in the evacuation of some 1,500 people.

Laisa Alamia, executive secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said the villages of Silangkong and Baguindan in Tipo-Tipo have turned into "ghost towns."

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Article comment by: Grin Olsson

As an American, I am quite confused about what the "peace" negotiations resulted in. Why aren't the Islamic people who signed the peace accord responsible for rounding up those Islamic people who are continuing the violence?

It seems to me that all Muslims read the same book, the Qur'an and from that beginning, so too, must they be responsible for their fellow followers under a peace treaty or else the peace treaty is a fraud against the Philippine government and people. Those that signed the peace treaty should either be detaining those who follow violence or terminating the violence. If there are a group, any group of people who do not choose to follow a peace accord and are killing Filipinos, then they sure don't recognize themselves as fellow citizens. The alternatives would be to round up the Communists, provide provisions and transport them to one of the Chinese occupied islands in the South China sea, so that they can live in peace and be a communist. The same goes for those Muslims who want to live the Islamic life without their fellow Filipino citizens who may happen to be Christian, Buddhist, or whatever. Because in the Philippines any of these minorities are afforded to practice their ideology, as long as it is done in peace. It seems to me if they don't want the protection of the government, don't want to live next to their fellow citizens or share the laws and responsiblities, except for murder, plunder, and violence, then relocate them to nations where their ideologies are prevalent, so the rest of the nation can live in peace and raise their children peacefully.

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