Caritas in the Philippines is appealing for help for 400,000 people displaced in Marawi as fears grow of malnutrition and displacement problems resulting from ongoing terrorist attacks.
Fr Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines, is also seeking help to restore Marawi’s St Mary’s Cathedral, reported ucanews.com. He said it was important to restore the central place of worship of the Catholic community in the predominantly Muslim city on Mindanao Island.
The Maute group, which claims to have links with Daesh, launched terrorist attacks on 23rd May, resulting in a standoff with Philippine security forces.
Gunmen took the cathedral’s vicar, Fr Teresito Soganub, hostage and destroyed religious images, including photographs of Pope Francis and retired Pope Benedict XVI, as they rampaged inside the church.
Fr Soganub was freed on 17th September.
Government casualties have continued to rise as the conflict drags on, despite repeated promises by Philippine military commanders that it will soon be resolved. As of 8th October, at least 158 soldiers and police had been killed in action and more than a 1,000 wounded. The military said on 9th October that 774 militants had been killed and up to 48 militants were holding their positions – about 12 acres – with the aid of improvised explosive devices.
Picture: Fr Teresito Soganub, who was released after being held captive by the Maute terror since 23rd May, is pictured in mid-March inside St Mary’s Cathedral in Marawi, Philippines. Caritas in the Philippines is appealing for help to restore the cathedral and for hundreds of thousands of people displaced by ongoing terrorist attacks. (CNS photo/Darren Whiteside, Reuters).