UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News


Christians, Muslims flock to join Marawi healing program

Catholic Church begins its Duyog Marawi aid and rehabilitation drive to help heal scars of deadly Philippine conflict

Bong S. Sarmiento Balo-i, Lanao del Norte

Bong S. Sarmiento Balo-i, Lanao del Norte

Updated: September 01, 2017 05:29 AM GMT
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Christians, Muslims flock to join Marawi healing program

Volunteers and visitors pose during the launch of "Duyog Marawi" in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte. (Photo by Bong S. Sarmiento)

Share this article :
The Prelature of St. Mary in Marawi City launched on Aug. 30 "Duyog Marawi," a Catholic Church aid and healing program for the war-torn city on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.

Church officials rolled out the program on the 100th day of the Marawi conflict, even as families awaited word on the fate of some 40 hostages, including the prelature's vicar-general, Father Teresito Soganub.

Towns around the main war zones remain dangerous, but more than a hundred Christian and Muslim volunteers showed up for the first phase of the aid and rehabilitation program, a partnership between the prelature and Redemptorist missionaries.

"We couldn't wait for the Maute group to be defeated before beginning the process of healing peoples and communities; bridging the gaps, sharing our dreams and reconstructing our lives," Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Pena said.

"Duyog" is a Visayan term for accompaniment, often understood as the act of playing a musical instrument for songs and dances and the basis for choral harmonies.

"These processes have to begin now before people go back to the city," the bishop stressed at the launch. 

The event happened alongside the dedication of the Prelature of St. Mary at the St. Tomas de Villanueva parish, 20 km from the city's ruined cathedral.

Duyog Marawi will focus on health and wellness, healing and reconciliation, communication and protection of vulnerable sectors.

It will serve at least 3,250 underserved families in Marawi and 14 other nearby municipalities. Planners and volunteers will ensure respect for local sensitivities, the bishop said.

"We heard a different mission calling us to definitive action — to ensure that people's faith and culture are paid attention to and factored into the rebuilding process of Marawi and to ascertain that people's rights are protected and upheld," the prelate said.

The program will involve ulamas (Islamic scholars) and imams (religious leaders) in line with the thrust of the Catholic Church to promote interreligious dialogue, he said.

Jamalic Umpar, 24, whose family fled Marawi, said he decided to become a Duyog Marawi volunteer to promote peace in Mindanao among the youth. 

"I want to foster unity and camaraderie between Muslims and Christians," Umpar told ucanews.com.

The conflict has gouged deep scars into the cultural psyche of people struggling with seeing their city, once a thriving religious and commercial center, turned into wasteland.

Trauma and displacement have left more than 30,000 residents with mental health problems, with more than 24,000 needing one-on-one treatment, the Health Department said.

More than half of the city's 60,000 displaced children failed to return to school in June, said international aid group, Save The Children.

"We are conscious that the mission of rebuilding the city belongs to the people of Marawi," said Bishop dela Pena. "We, as the representative of the universal Catholic Church, are here to support and accompany them all the way."

The church program complements rehabilitation efforts of the government's Task Force Bangon (Rise) Marawi, which has started groundwork on an 11-hectare temporary housing site.

The military has also sent a contingent of women soldiers to help the emotionally wounded and ease gender concerns in the majority Islamic city.

While Islamic State-inspired fighters in the city number just around 50, officials said it would take a few more weeks to defeat the extremists, who still hold hostages.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
UCA Newsletter
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

UCA News Podcast
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution