COTABATO CITY, Philippines — “Sho(o)t to kill ka namin Du30, kahit sa(an) ka humingi ng tulong Du30 ay hindi mo kami kayang ubusin (We will shoot to kill you Duterete, wherever you ask for help Duterte you can never wipe us out).”
These words, alongside curses and threats to target Davao City next were scrawled on blackboards and walls, next to scattered belongings and defaced portraits of President Rodrigo Duterte left in the school at Barangay Malagakit, Pigcwayan town, Cotabato province after gunmen of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters retreated from the village they had occupied on Tuesday.
Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo also condemned what he called “the wicked desecration of the Catholic chapel of Malagakit in the parish of Pigcawayan and most especially of the Sacred Hosts that were kept there for the Catholic faithful.”
The BIFF’s incursion into Malagakit triggered clashes which left two government militiamen and a number of the gunmen dead, and sent hundreds of residents fleeing.
BIFF spokesman Abu Misrie Mama claimed their action was in retaliation for continued military operations despite the observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. At the same time, he stressed that they had nothing to do with the Maute group, which is engaged in the month-old crisis in Marawi City.
In a statement, Quevedo called the desecration of the chapel “irreligious acts that cry out to heaven” akin to “the desecration of a mosque and the sacred Qur’an by non-Muslims.”
“Both desecrations are gravely sinful,” he said.
The prelate challenged the BIFF to “punish its members who perpetrated the odious desecration in Malagakit and educate all its members in strictly respecting other religions” if it sought “an image as a respecter of all religions.”
At the same time, he urged “the Catholic faithful of Malagakit to restore the sacredness of their chapel and ask all the faithful of the Archdiocese to pray for peace and harmony among all believers of different religions.”