(Editor’s Note: The University wishes to inform the community and readers of our website about the alarming incidents occurring in particular places of the country.)
We—members of the Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi Association of Private Schools (ZAMBASULTAPS) and Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) in Region 9—are quite concerned about the recent incidents of kidnapping and killing in our Region 9 and the Island Provinces especially in Basilan Province. Several of these cases are no longer known to authorities and the media for various reasons.
Last 18 October 2008, Saturday, between 12:45 and 1.00 p.m., Fr. Felimon Libot, CMF and his six military escorts (mostly CAFGUs) were ambushed near Tumahubong, Basilan, by an armed group. Fr. Libot was on his way to celebrate Mass in that area. It is not known whether the attack was intended to kill Fr. Libot or kidnap him. Four of his companions were wounded and all are in stable condition. Fr. Libot sustained minor bruises, but otherwise unharmed. The motives behind this attack are still uncertain.
Fr. Libot, a Claretian priest, is the Director of Claret College of Isabela, Basilan, a member ZAMBASULTAPS and CEAP. Fr. Libot is a Board member of ZAMBASULTAPS.
Last 15 September 2008, peace advocates and development practitioners Ms. Espie Hupida, Program Director of Nagdilaab Foundation Inc, and Milet Mendoza were kidnapped and are still held captive.
We condemn these acts that breed violence and foster instability in our region. We salute the courage of those who protected Fr. Libot. We appeal to the captors of Ms. Hupida and Ms. Mendoza to release them as soon as possible. We call upon our authorities to restore protection and safety of our citizenry. We call upon our government, institutions, organized groups, and people of goodwill to pursue relentlessly the path of peace.
Fr. Antonio F. Moreno, SJ
Msgr. David M. Alonzo
Vice President, ZAMBASULTAPS
Sr. Ma Bernadette G. Sucio, RVM
Fr. Christian James DL Castro, CMF
Board Members, ZAMBASULTAPS
Col. Romeo E Delgado (Ret)
President, Southern Peninsula College
Fr. Armando S. Bayron
Vice President, St. Columban College
Sr. Mercedes Salud, SFIC
Directress, Marian College
Fr. Filemon P. Libot, CMF
Director, Claret College of Isabela
Bro. Eugene Plus, FMS
Director, Notre Dame of Jolo HS Kasulutan
Sr. Amelia G. David, ICM
Superintenden, Pagadian Diocesan Schools