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Church to aid for indigenes regardless of ideologies

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By ERWIN MASCARIÑAS
Correspondent .

BISLIG City, Surigao del Sur – The bishop of Tandag yesterday said the Roman Catholic diocese in the province has moved to help over a thousand indigenes displaced as a result of the armed conflict in Lianga town regardless of ideologies.

“This help that we will extend is based on what is the immediate need of the community, and right now they really need our help. If I see people hungry, no matter who they are or what they are, for me, as a bishop, I will extend my help to them. But for me, no matter whom this person or whom this community is from, may it be the military or anyone else, IP or anyone, as long as they are in need of help and support, the Church is always ready to help,” said Bishop Raul Dael, bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Tandag.

Dael also called for a dialogue among representatives of the displaced families, local governments, and other stakeholders.

“I want to listen to every side,” said Dael, adding that he has yet to get a full grasp of the situation.

He said the military views things differently about the displacement of the indigenes.

“I would like to dig deeper and see the bigger picture,” Dael said. “I will listen to all sides, and balance everything. I won’t  immediately believe everything that will be reported to me.”

On Wednesday, a humanitarian relief mission of the Carmilite Order led by Fr. Marlon Lacal was blocked at a military checkpoint; they were not allowed to go to the evacuation site to distribute food.

Dael said he was informed about the incident and was surprised when he was told that all relief assistance should pass the Municipal Social Welfare and Developmentoffice first.

It was not the first time that happened. In 2017, relief goods from religious groups were screened and then held at a military checkpoint because these should have been coursed through the MSWD.

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