Page Title
Editor's corner/ Over a cup of tea
Heidi M. Pascual*
Publisher & Editor
* 2006 Journalist of the
Year for the State of
Wisconsin (U.S.-SBA)

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ISIS-inspired terror in Mindanao
By Heidi M. Pascual
various illnesses. The strength of the terror group has been underestimated by the government because the military
training, number of militants, and fire power of the enemy are beyond the expectations of government forces. For one,
the Marawi siege was well planned by the terrorists and they seem to have no shortage of bullets. The Maute Group
also uses children as young as 10 years old as “soldiers.” It was reported that children have been trained in secret
hideaways, and brainwashed to create suicide bombers among them.

There’s no certainty as to when the fight to regain Marawi City will end. There’s no certainty as to whether or not the
terrorists would be wiped out or captured. For all we know, some of them could have joined civilians who had been
rescued by government forces!

What pains me at this point is the certainty that some people might use this situation to further alienate our Muslim
brothers and sisters. Some Christians have already voiced out negative comments in the social media, pointing out
that Islam extremists started from being “regular” Muslims until they “graduate” into Christian haters. But I am glad that
on the ground, our Muslim brothers and sisters in Marawi and neighboring areas are helping Christians in the war
zone survive. Some of them even teach Christians basic Muslim conversational dialogue and verses from the Qu’ran
just in case they encounter Mautes in some checkpoints. It is a matter of life and death. Mautes behead non-Muslims
without any provocation. It is simply their way of “cleansing” a place of people who do not share their belief.

Recently, the Maute  brothers’ father, mother, a sister and her boyfriend, were arrested in various places and are now in
the custody of the government. Hopefully,  the Maute leaders would be next. Reportedly, only a few barangays are still
under the Mautes’ forces, although more than 2,000 civilians are still trapped in the war zone. Snipers are everywhere it
seems, that is why civilians who want to escape are scared to do so. A few are able to run and leave the place despite
the heavy exchange of fire. They’d rather risk their lives escaping than staying and ending up dead anyway.

My heart goes to the heroes of Marawi – the government soldiers who offered their lives in the service of the country,
and as I share the sadness of their families for losing them, I equally share their pride and honor. I pray that their loved
ones’ burden be light, knowing that their heroes have joined our Lord in heaven. I am also proud of our wounded
soldiers, whose bravery is beyond compare. Many of them would like to go back to Marawi City and fight again, despite
their medical conditions. Hats off to you all!

As a Filipino, I am anguished and heartbroken at what’s happening in Marawi City in the
province of Lanao del Sur in Mindanao.  It has been a month since the fighting between the
Philippine Armed Forces and the Maute Group – an ISIS-inspired terrorist group – began and
it hasn’t stopped. Marawi City is completely destroyed, thousands of civilians have been
displaced, hundreds have been killed (and still counting), and the future is bleak for those
who will survive and find their homes and property completely gone. Apparently, Marawi City
has been chosen by the Maute Group to become its Islamic State. Christians were meant to
be ousted from their lands and killed, and only Muslims or Maranaws were planned to be
kept alive. Authorities revealed that several foreign terrorists from Malaysia and Indonesia
were with the Maute Group when the attack happened. President Duterte declared Martial
Law in the entire island of Mindanao in response to this terror attack.

As of this writing, casualties reported are as follows: 268 militants (including 8 foreigners);
66 government forces (10 by friendly fire); and 45 civilians. More than 110 military personnel
have been wounded and hundreds of civilians cramped in evacuation centers suffer from
Please help me pray for the eventual victory
of the Philippine government versus the local
terror group, the Maute. Our society should
not, cannot, and will never, tolerate the
presence of such an ISIS-inspired group in
our midst. Terrorism has no place in a
society of peaceful people. Christians and
Muslims live together in peace in this country,
and extremists want to destroy that peace. It
is time for Filipinos--Christians and Muslims
alike—to shout in unison “We are Filipinos,
and we will fight against terror groups that
seek to sow hatred in our hearts, overthrow
our democratic government, and subjugate
our citizens in any form