Fr Teresito Soganub (Fr Chito), who was rescued this week after being held captive for 117 days by Maute militants, has pledged to continue his ministry in Marawi.
Fr Chito said: ”My seizure was God's will, a trial He wanted. I trust in him. I see my future only in Marawi. Christians and Muslims are brothers and we believe in the only, unique God.” Fr Chito, who was captured in his church on 23 May together with a group of parishioners, said he did not want to try to escape, so he could ”share the fate of those kidnapped until the end.”
At present some jihadists are still barricaded in Marawi with a group of more than 40 hostages.
Fr Chito, who is now in Manila, thanked the army for their enormous effort and "all those who prayed for us and for our release.”
The Bishop of Marawi, Edwin De La Pena, said: ”Fr Chito will have a period of rest and recovery before resuming his priestly ministry and returning to the Apostolic Prelature in Marawi. Fr Chito’s release gives us further hope for the release of the other hostages, including other Catholic faithful. We hope the war ends soon, and that the inhabitants of Marawi can return home, rebuild their lives and their city.”
Bishop Edwin is inviting Catholic communities across the country to adopt a community affected by the crisis in Marawi, in order to support their long-term path to recovery. "The common effort of the entire Philippine Church will communicate a message of hope to all affected communities,” he said.
The ‘adopt a community’ project is an initiative of the Apostolic Prelature of Marawi, in collaboration with Caritas Philippines and Redemptorist missionaries.
The Bishop said a special appeal will also be launched to rebuild the Cathedral in Marawi which heavily damaged by jihadists. The Papal Nunco will also ask for support from the Pontifical Mission Societies.