Marawi Prelature helps residents displaced by Taal eruption

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 January) – Now it’s their turn to help.

The Prelature of Marawi is joining the rest of the Catholic Church in the Philippines in offering a second collection during the masses on Sunday, January 19, to help residents displaced by the eruption of Taal Volcano in Luzon.

Bishop Edwin dela Pena of the Prelature of Marawi. MindaNews file photo by H. MARCOS C. MORDENO

“Yes we will do second collection in all our masses this coming Sunday, January 19. The feast of the Sto. Nino. We will dig deep into our pocket and give for our Batangueno brothers and sisters until it really hurts!!!” Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Pena posted on his Facebook wall on Tuesday.

During the five-month war between government forces and IS-inspired Maute Group in 2017, Catholic churches nationwide also offered a second collection for the Prelature of Marawi which was then assisting residents—both Catholic parishioners and Muslim brothers and sisters—displaced by the war.

Dela Pena told MindaNews on Wednesday that the second collection given by the other Catholic churches in 2017 was “not so much for the Prelature of Marawi. After all, Christians in Marawi are a tiny minority. It was mainly for the IDPs (internally displaced persons), majority of whom were Muslims.”

“The Prelature was simply the conduit of the church’s aid, together with the social action ministry of the Diocese of Iligan. Then, because of this outpouring of help and support, we were able to establish Duyog (Accompany) Marawi, in partnership with other religious and faith-based non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations and aid organizations both local and foreign,” he said.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Monday called on dioceses to help residents displaced by “this difficult situation” in Luzon.

CBCP President and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles, said one way of helping is through the second collection in Sunday’s masses which would be given “to the most affected local churches.”

“Another form of solidarity is to respond to other needs, such as medical care and attention to those in evacuation centers,” CBCP News quoted Valles as saying.

The St. Mary’s Cathedral in Marawi City after the siege. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

According to CBCP News, Archbishop Gilbert Garcera of Lipa had earlier appealed for aid to augment their ongoing relief operations.

Among the most urgent needs, he said, are food, potable water, hygiene kits, blankets, towels, medicine, and face masks.

Several parishes, seminaries and religious centers in Batangas and Cavite provinces have offered to take in evacuees.

The Lipa Archdiocesan Social Action Center called for volunteers to help repack goods at its headquarters at the St. Francis de Sales Major Seminary in Lipa City.

It also needs volunteers to join a crash course on psychological first-aid to help debrief “our stressed brethren who were affected by the eruption” For inquiries and donations to the Lipa archdiocese, please contact (043) 404-8057 or +63 9255595968.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), in its update as of 7:30 a.m. on January 15, reported 12,486 families or 53,019 persons affected by the eruption in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite. Of this number, 10,000 families or 43,681 persons are taking shelter in 217 evacuation centers. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)