Philippine Catholic bishops appealed for prayers and help for victims of a Magnitude 6.3 earthquake, which killed seven people and left more than 60 others injured in the southern Philippines last week.
Five days after the earthquake, which was centered in the town of Tulunan in Cotabato province, strong aftershocks continued to rock various parts of Mindanao.
Hundreds of aftershocks, with some as strong as Magnitude 5.3 and 5.2, continued to be felt in several provinces of the region.
Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao, president of the Catholic bishops’ conference, has expressed solidarity with all those affected by the earthquake.
“Our thoughts and prayers are for those families who lost lives and also suffered damages to their properties,” said Archbishop Valles.
“We continue to pray that each one will look for each other’s safety. Let’s help one another,” said the prelate.
“And we trust in the Lord’s constant presence in our lives so that even if facing fear and anxiety, we still continue our daily lives of service and unity with one another,” he added.
Archbishop Valles called on people outside of Mindanao to offer help.
“May people who are from the outside reach out to the suffering communities and give them aid according to what they need,” he said in a broadcast over church-run Radio Veritas.
In Kidapawan Diocese, Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo reported that the cathedral and other churches in his jurisdiction did not sustain any damage.
“No major damages to our cathedral and other churches. Commercial building and other infrastructures in Kidapawan and other towns were moderately affected,” he said.
Archbishop Martin Jumoad of Ozamiz said the strong earthquake was a “warning” for people to change their “evil ways.”
“Repent and change our evil deeds,” he said, adding that the Lord is reminding the people to change especially those who have become “materialistic and selfish.”
“Maybe, we have become more materialistic and selfish and the Lord reminds us to change our ways,” he said.
The prelate pointed out how people have destroyed the environment.
“Mother earth groans and in pain due to some irresponsible selfish persons destroying our mountains and polluting our rivers and seas,” he said.
He said the earthquake “serves as a reminder that we are not in control of everything … someone great is the most powerful.”