MANILA, Philippines–Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle on Thursday prayed for peace in Zamboanga City as another bishop expressed fear that the fighting between government troops and the Moro National Liberation Front rebels would spread to Basilan.
Tagle prayed for an end to the violent standoff between government forces and MNLF rebels in the city of more than 800,000 inhabitants, according to Church-run Radio Veritas.
“Loving God, you created the world as a sign of your love and you created man as your caretaker of the earth. May your good plan for Zamboanga come to pass. Let love and compassion flow,” Tagle said. “Stop the spread of violence and let noble and humane aspirations prevail in everyone’s heart. Put an end to harmful designs. Let your will and justice reign so that there would be peace in Zamboanga,” he added.
Tagle issued his prayer for the beleaguered city and its inhabitants as Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad urged MNLF chair Nur Misuari to order his men to withdraw from Zamboanga and stop the spread of the fighting to Basilan.
Jumoad noted that there was a firefight between MNLF and government soldiers in Colonia, Lamitan City in Basilan on Thursday morning.
Because of the fighting, municipal employees, teachers and students, and employees at the chancery of the Prelature of Basilan were told to go home so that they would not be caught in the crossfire, Jumoad said.