Basilan governor condemns desecration of 3 Catholic chapels in Lamitan on Ash Wednesday | Inquirer News
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Basilan governor condemns desecration of 3 Catholic chapels in Lamitan on Ash Wednesday

/ 09:45 PM February 18, 2021

ZAMBOANGA CITY—The Basilan provincial government has condemned the desecration of three chapels in Lamitan City on Ash Wednesday.

Basilan Gov. Jim Salliman described the attack as “atrocious and discriminatory,” even as he ordered police hunt the perpetrators.

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“To our Catholic faithfuls (sic), let this be known to you that I stand with you as your governor,” said Salliman, a Muslim.

Religious icons were thrashed in the chapels of San Isidro Labrador at Sta. Clara village, San Antonio de Padua at Maganda village and San Isidro at Kulaybato village, all in Lamitan City. The vandalism was believed to have taken place at night on Feb. 16, Ash Wednesday, one of the Catholic Church’s most sacred holidays. The icons were found mangled and desecrated in the morning.

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“We, in the provincial government, despise and condemn in the highest terms the acts of defilement,” said Salliman in a statement released on Thursday (Feb. 18).

“We raise our voices for justice. We demand from the authorities an in-depth investigation and to get into the bottom of the case, lest it will be exploited by groups or individuals whose motive is to undermine the harmonious relationship that we, Muslims and Christians, have been enjoying in the past few years,” he added.

He also asked the public to observe sobriety.

“I call upon the Catholics and Muslims to be calm and sensible in our acts and thoughts,” the governor said. “It is prudent that we refrain from spreading lies and hearsay that will cause alarm and panic. Words of peace, compassion and goodwill must prevail.”

Fr. Edgar Rivero, parish priest of San Anthony parish in Santa Clara, also appealed to the Catholic faithful to be calm and avoid using harsh words on social media. “Let us allow our authorities to investigate,” said Rivero.

“I was informed that nothing of value was taken, which means, there was no robbery,” Rivero said. “Those who did it were out to sow fear among Catholics.”

But Col. Domingo Gobway, commander of Joint Task Force Basilan, said a Virgin Mary statue made of pure marble was stolen at the village of Sengal.

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TAGS: Ash Wednesday, Basilan, Catholic, chapels, Christians, Desecration, Icons, Lamitan City, Muslims, Regions, vandalism
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