One of my recent interviews with Radyo Veritas was picked up by several news organizations, some of which made it appear that I am supporting the extension of the Martial Law in selected areas. To be consistent with the Church’s stand and with the general sentiment of our Maranao brothers and sisters, I would like to offer a clarification:

During the first Marital Law declaration on 23 May, 2017, my stand was clear: that is should not be for the whole Mindanao, but for Marawi.

I did not favor the extension of Martial Law and was vocal about it.

That is still my stand for another round of extension. However, I did say that if it had to be extended based on the assessment of the military, it should be limited to areas of tension (Ground Zero, for example), to facilitate the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the city. But I thought I made it clear that I should not be the one answering that question but the Meranaws themselves.

Who is in a better position to tell whether Martial Law is going to facilitate, and not put a stumbling block for Marawi to rise from the ruins? Not me, or anyone else in the Church or even the government. It is the people of Marawi themselves.

The people of Marawi themselves should be asked, not me, what is of their best interest. As Duyog Marawi, our mission is to accompany the Meranaws and be a supporter to their struggles. Theirs is the power to make the decisions.

Bishop, Prelature of St. Mary’s in Marawi