Christians rally to help rebuild Philippine city of Marawi destroyed by Muslim terrorists

Christians rally to help rebuild Philippine city of Marawi destroyed by Muslim terrorists

The Faith

The Philippine National Defense said in September that rebuilding the city of Marawi would cost $1 billion. So far, Christian groups have put $550,000 — half of it from Caritas Philippines — into their response. Donations from Canada, China, Germany, South Korea and other countries as well as pledges from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the European Union, the World Bank and other entities have started to arrive.

Christian leaders in Philippines have banded together to help rebuild Marawi, a Muslim-majority city in southern Philippines damaged by five months of occupation by terrorists.

The Christian leaders are calling on smaller Christian groups “and even the monks” to pool their strength toward restoring Marawi, said Jing Henderson, communications and partnership development coordinator of the Philippine bishops’ social justice council and Caritas Philippines. The historically peaceful city is located on central Mindanao Island, a restive part of the country, which for decades experienced insurgency from Muslim rebel groups seeking autonomy.

“For example, our expertise is in disaster risk reduction, psychosocial support; others would have expertise in shelter, livelihood,” Henderson told Catholic News Service. “We would like to share these resources so that when we go on the ground, to these affected communities, then we’ll know what to do, when to provide the response and also how to provide it.”

On Oct. 23, five months after Islamic State loyalists began a sustained siege in Marawi, the Philippines declared the war ended. More than 1,100 people – most of them militant fighters – died in the fighting. Nearly all of Marawi’s 200,000 residents fled the city, along with hundreds of thousands of citizens from surrounding areas.

Baptist Bishop Noel Pantoja, head of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, told CNS: “Imagine more than 500,000 people are displaced. So the biggest religious blocks and (nongovernment organizations) are doing their part but … three months ago we came together, all the heads of these organizations and said, ‘What if we put our hands and resources together?’ After the relief operations, there will be rehabilitation.”

Baptist Bishop Noel Pantoja, head of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, told CNS: “Imagine more than 500,000 people are displaced. So the biggest religious blocks and (nongovernment organizations) are doing their part but … three months ago we came together, all the heads of these organizations and said, ‘What if we put our hands and resources together?’ After the relief operations, there will be rehabilitation.”

Pantoja said the three church conferences would build temporary shelters, and each would be responsible for at least 100 houses and providing basic necessities, in addition to giving other support. Henderson said residents have played a crucial part, giving input on how they want their neighborhoods to be rebuilt.

This article continues at [Crux Now] Philippine Christian leaders join to help rebuild Muslim-majority city

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