The group aired their plea in a whole-page statement published in The Mindanao Cross, a weekly community paper circulated in Southwest Mindanao
“We are deeply sorrowed by the senseless murder of Fr. Reynaldo Roda, OMI,” the statement said.
Among the signatories to the statement are Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, SJ of Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan; Fr. Antonio Samson, SJ of Ateneo de Davao University; Fr. Antonio F. Moreno, SJ of Ateneo de Zamboanga University; Fr. Eduardo G. Tanudtanud, OMI of Notre Dame University; Bro. Wilfredo E. Lubrico, FMS of Notre Dame of Marbel University;
Bro. John Anthony Y. Tan, FMS of Notre dame of Dadiangas University; Fr. Romeo S. Saniel, OMI of Notre Dame of Midsayap College; Fr. Emmanuel A Sison, OMI of Notre Dame of Jolo College and Bro. Teodolo A. Fernandez FMS of Notre Dame of Kidapawan College.
“We the members of the Jesuit-Oblate-Marist Network are further challenged in our work and mission through our educational institutions to broaden the mindset of our people so they do not fall to the temptation of violence and despair,” the statement added.
The group also expressed “deepest solidarity with the people of Tabawan both the Muslim and Christians, the family and friends of Fr. Roda, and the Oblate of Mary Immaculate (OMI) congregation.”
It called on the communities to nurture peace of heart and build a culture of tolerance and acceptance among people.
“Let us encourage each other to work even harder so that poverty and conflict will no longer have the power to tear our lives and communities apart,” it stressed.
The group called Fr. Roda a courageous steward of the people who selflessly worked for solidarity and development among Muslims and Christians in the remote areas of Southern Mindanao.
The murdered priest was a known advocate of peace. Apart from being an educator, he engaged in many development projects for the people of Tabawan where he had stayed for 10 years.
The victim was reportedly praying in his chapel when his kidnappers came. He was reportedly stabbed, hacked, strangled and then shot. His body bore at least 30 wounds.
Thousands of sympathizers attended his burial at the OMI cemetery in Tamontaka, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Shariff Kabungsuan on January 23. (Williamor A. Magbanua/MindaNews)