The bishop in the conflict-hit Philippines province of Basilan has called for a Holy Week ceasefire as clashes between government troops and Abu Sayyaf rebels entered a fourth day, reports Ucanews.
'I call on our brother Muslims to please respect our observance of the Holy Week,' Bishop Martin Jumoad of Isabela said in a radio broadcast.
Bishop Jumoad made the call following the death of at least 20 people, mostly Abu Sayyaf fighters, and the wounding of at least 45 others in clashes that began on Friday in the town of Tipo-Tipo.
'Just as we respect the Ramadan, I hope also [the Muslims] will respect the Holy Week,' the prelate said. He said fighting will not stop Catholics on Basilan 'to profess our faith because we trust that God will provide our security.'
'I continue to challenge our Catholic faithful, particularly in areas where there is danger, I challenge them to still profess our faith,' Bishop Jumoad said.
The fighting in the town of Tipo-Tipo has already resulted in the evacuation of some 1,500 people.
FULL STORY Philippine bishop calls for Holy Week ceasefire (Ucanews)