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Filipinos' prayer for peace

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Last week, the government and terrorists belonging to the IS-inspired Maute Group observed an eight-hour truce brokered by Muslim leaders  in Marawi City. The ceasefire allowed the rescue of residents, especially the sick and those held hostage by the terrorists, as the Muslims observe the waning days of the Ramadan. Other Muslim religious leaders also reached out with the Mautes and tried to convince them to give up and end the siege which had tattered many parts of Marawi City and resulted to the death of more than 450 people, including soldiers, policemen and innocent citizens. The war also displaced some 200,000 Marawi residents who had to scamper to safety to nearby Iligan City and other towns, some who have the means fleeing to as far as Metro Manila.

 

But while there was this brief chance for peace, rapid firings and bombings from both sides readily resumed at the end of the truce as the terrorists, many of them Malaysians, Indonesians, Singaporeans, Yemenis, Saudi Arabians and others were firm on their mission to make Marawi a caliphate of the Islamists in the Philippines and Southeast Asia and refuse to give up. Thus, the Muslim community observed Eid’l Fitr, the end of Ramadan, with fears and concern that the war in Marawi City could still prolong.

 

Amidst the troubles in Marawi, President Rodrigo Duterte appealed to Muslim leaders and the people of Mindanao to help carve out a peace formula for the region that will ensure its full development that would benefit its people. In Malacanang where he led the Eid’l Fitr celebration, the President stressed anew his promise to the Filipinos that he would secure lasting peace in Mindanao. “To our brothers and sisters who have been affected by the violence and conflict in Mindanao, I assure you that the government is committed to securing just and lasting peace in the island,” President Duterte said in his speech before an audience of Muslim Filipinos, many of them former rebels themselves. Meanwhile, an inter-religious movement appealed for prayers and nationwide participation in its “Prayer for Peace in the Philippines” initiative to be held on July 7. The people should join and support this prayer initiative whatever faith they belong, whether they are Christians, Catholics or Muslims.

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