The Philippine government declared the liberation of Marawi on October 23, following the deaths of pro-ISIS leaders.
Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, leaders of the pro-ISIS group, who lead the war in Marawi have been killed in an exchange gunfire between the militant group and Philippine military. PhilippPine Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana made the announcement on the morning of October 16.
“We have successfully concluded what has been, so far, the most serious threat of violent extremism and radicalism in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in an interview with BusinessMirror. “The defeat of the Daesh-inspired Maute Group, likewise, underscores our singleness of purpose in the global war against terrorism.”
Amidst the celebration, our fieldworker Gina* continues to ask for prayers. In anticipation of possible retaliation from sympathetic militant groups, especially from the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), a red alert (the highest level of emergency) is expected to be raised in Southern Philippines.
“Please keep on praying that God will confuse the plans of retaliation of these groups if there would be any. Pray that fear will be instilled in their hearts in attacking any [other] place in Mindanao, that they may grow weary and tired of doing evil things. Pray that these groups will acknowledge Jesus Christ as the one and only savior and they may totally abandon their ideologies of Islam extremism,” she requests.
The work of rehabilitation is also at hand. Gina is leading our efforts in this, partnering with other Christian groups in the area. “Please pray as well that our brethren will be comforted and assured that the Lord gives hope. Pray that the Lord will provide for their needs, as many have lost their jobs during the siege. Pray that they may be able to cope with all the difficulties they’re encountering, and that they may continue to put their trust and faith in the Lord.”
She also asks that we pray for the Muslim leaders: “Also, pray for the Muslim ulamas (leaders) who are initiating interfaith dialogue with fanatic Muslims in some areas of Mindanao. May God use this dialogue to lessen, if not eradicate, the Islam extremism teachings in the region.”