Language Sites
  • UCAN China
  • UCAN India
  • UCAN Indonesia
  • UCAN Vietnam

Kidnapped Filipino priest appeals for help in video

Islamic militants have taken hostages and are demanding a safe route from Marawi

Kidnapped Filipino priest appeals for help in video

Father Teresito Suganob, vicar general of the Prelature of Marawi, was taken hostage by Islamist militants on May 23 along with others including other church workers. He released a video appeal on May 30. (Photo from Father Suganob's Facebook page)

Joe Torres and Roy Lagarde, Manila
Philippines

May 30, 2017

Mail This Article
(For more than one recipient, type addresses separated by commas)


A Filipino Catholic priest, who was abducted by gunmen claiming to be Islamic militants, appealed to the Philippine government for help in a video posted on social media on May 30.

The video showed Father Teresito Suganob, vicar general of the Prelature of Marawi, calling on President Rodrigo Duterte to withdraw security forces from the southern city of Marawi.

"Mr. President, we are in the midst of this war. We are asking your help to please give what your enemies are asking for," said the priest in the video.

"They are asking for [you to] withdraw your forces from Lanao del Sur and Marawi," said Father Suganob.

Claiming to speak for 240 "prisoners of war," the priest addressed Duterte saying "If you want me to kneel before you just for you to find favor for our families who are crying out ... we will do that."

He said there are two female workers from St. Mary Catholic Cathedral and seven teachers of Dansalan College, a Protestant school, among the hostages. 

A band of gunmen who claimed to have links with the so-called Islamic State tried to take over the city of Marawi in the province of Lanao del Sur on May 23.

For a week already, clashes between security forces and the militants have resulted in the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of residents.

Withdrawing gunmen took Father Suganob, several church workers and churchgoers hostage during the first day of the conflict.

The priest said his abductors are asking the government "to stop the air strikes … and to stop the cannons."

It cannot be determined whether the priest, who appeared to be standing in the middle of a bombarded area, was making the statement voluntarily.

The priest urged Duterte not to use violence, "because your enemies, they are ready to die for their religion. They are ready to die that their laws will be followed."

Duterte has declared martial law across Mindanao following the terror attack in Marawi.

Bishop Edwin dela Pena of Marawi earlier said the gunmen have threatened to kill the hostages if the military offensive continues. The prelate said he received a call from one of the gunmen demanding a "unilateral ceasefire."

"They want a ceasefire and for the military to give them access out of Marawi. Otherwise, they will kill the hostages," said Bishop Dela Pena said.

He said there will be "no negotiations" with the terrorists and he admitted that hostages might be used as "human shields."

The bishop told ucanews.com that he had seen the video but refused to release any statement. 

UCAN needs your support to continue our independent journalism
Access to UCAN stories is completely free of charge - however it costs a significant amount of money to provide our unique content. UCAN relies almost entirely on donations from our readers and donor organizations that support our mission. If you are a regular reader and are able to support us financially, please consider making a donation. Click here to donate now.
La Civiltà Cattolica
 

LATEST

Support Our Journalism

Access to UCAN stories is completely free of charge - however it costs a significant amount of money to provide our unique content. UCAN relies almost entirely on donations from our readers and donor organizations that support our mission. If you are a regular reader and are able to support us financially, please consider making a donation.

Quick Donate

Or choose your own donation amount