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Mindanao missionaries issue statement following martial law declaration

'This narrative has long been written in the global war against terror – a war which does not distinguish religion from politics, does not distinguish an attack from defense, a civilian from a fighter.'

The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines - Northern Mindanao Sub-Region (RMP-NMSR) have called for interfaith unity in the wake of a declaration of martial law across the island of Mindanao. 

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte issued the order yesterday as fighting between the army and militants linked to Islamic State continued in Marawi City, where the death toll has risen to more than 46. 

This afternoon it was reported that Philippine troops had launched strikes against ISIS targets in the besieged southern city. 

In a strongly worded statement yesterday, RMP-NMSR Advocacy Officer Aileen Villarosa said the president's response was concerning. 'We are dismayed that the President who dares declare martial law, suspend the writ of habeas corpus and allow military power to take over, is from Mindanao himself,' the statement read. 'We had thought that his previous involvements in the Bangsamoro peace negotiations would give him the insights he needed [to see] the inappropriateness of resolving armed conflicts with more violence.'

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A poster calling for interfaith unity in the wake of a declaration of martial law in Mindanao. Photo: RMP-NMSR

The organisation, which runs education and community building projects on the island and is supported by Catholic Mission, called for interfaith action. 'Now more than ever, there is a need for interfaith understanding and empathy to mend the relationships torn by political agendas of the evil powers that manipulate humanity.'

It is understood projects operated by RMP-NMSR and supported by Catholic Mission are at this time unaffected by the military activity in the region. 

Sources: Reuters, Sydney Morning Herald. 

For media enquiries please contact Matthew Poynting on 02 9919 7833 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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