MANILA, Philippines – Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Peña urged Catholic dioceses to “adopt a community” in Marawi City, as he presented the Catholic Church’s “peace-building” rehabilitation program in their locality.
“It is our hope that this act of the local church standing up and rising from rubbles will communicate a message of hope to all affected communities,” Dela Peña said in a statement distributed to reporters in Manila on Tuesday, September 19.
Father Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, said that the idea of “adopt a community” came from Dela Peña.
“We need to harness our own total resources. So it’s not just foreign organizations helping us, but our dioceses,” Gariguez said.
Gariguez said that the Dioceses of Cubao and Novaliches, as well as Quiapo Church, have committed to help in their “adopt a community” project.
Dela Peña explained that the Prelature of Marawi has launched “Duyog Marawi,” a rehabilitation program that focuses on healing and peace-building efforts.
The operations of Duyog Marawi will focus on 13 communities:
- Sultan Naga Dimaporo
The Duyog Marawi program will also help the Mindanao State University community in Marawi and the Balo-i Cathedral community.
While calling for help from Catholics, Dela Peña also urged President Rodrigo Duterte to allow some displaced Marawi families to return to their city.
“This is a critical moment in the history of Muslim-Christian relations in Marawi. This will either bring us closer or will widen the gap,” Dela Peña said.
Marawi is the site of clashes between government troops and ISIS-linked Maute Group terrorists since May 23.
The Marawi clashes have killed at least 147 government forces, 45 civilians, and 660 terrorists. The crisis has also forced more than 600,000 Filipinos out of their homes in Marawi and surrounding localities. (READ: ‘PH failed to detect signs that led to Marawi’ – expert) – Rappler.com