I was in Mindanao a little over a year ago so it is absolutely heartbreaking to hear of what is happening in one of its regions. Reprinting this email from Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan. Please help if you can.
Dear Friends in Christ,
By now we are certain that you have heard of the ongoing conflict in Mindanao. Weeks earlier, what we thought to have been a solid path to peace has now become a spark that will surely re-open past wounds and hatred. A series of disturbing and tragic events unfold in Mindanao as a result of the amalgamated issues surrounding the stalled GRP-MILF MOA on Ancestral Domain.
The past week has seen the worst armed conflict in years as civilians have become the primary target of lawless groups. Sporadic fighting has been reported in Mindanao and sadly, the worst hit are the provinces of central and north-western Mindanao. As per reports that we have received today, August 20 (Wednesday), there are about 6,000 families in 18 evacuation centers from the province of Lanao del norte and Iligan City. The number continues to increase as civilians flee their homes to avoid being caught in the crossfire of the government forces and MILF troops.
As blame is being tossed around following the attacks by alleged members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters on villages in Lanao del Norte and Sarrangani, one sad fact remains – violence and hatred continue to take their toll on the lives of innocent civilians, Muslims, Lumads and Christians alike.
The Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, together with the Dioceses of Iligan and Marawi, has called for aid especially for the towns in Lanao that have been attacked and burned.
In this light, we are appealing for any financial aid that you can extend to our brothers and sisters in Mindanao who are caught in this strife. They are in dire need of medicines, water and food supplies.
The funds received will be sent to the affected areas through the partnership of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, under the leadership of Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ, and the Xavier University (Ateneo de Cagayan).
Let us all be one with our brothers and sisters in Mindanao in their quest for genuine peace and development.
SCHOLASTIC ISMAEL JOSE III V. CHAN-GONZAGA, SJ
Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan
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