Manila (Agenzia Fides) - The Bishops of the Philippines have condemned the recent acts of vandalism in churches across the Philippines. On February 21, unidentified people destroyed religious images at the entrance to the Saint Pio parish church in the town of Legazpi, in the province of Albay, in the south-eastern part of the island of Luzon. The statue of Our Lady of Salvation, placed at the entrance of the parish church, lost its right hand while the left hand of the image of an angel was cut off, reported the parish priest, Father Bob Bañares. Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi defined the incidents as "irresponsible acts", hoping that "they will not be repeated", he said.
The previous week, two chapels were desecrated on the Philippine island of Basilan, in the south of the Philippines, and a number of religious images were damaged. Archbishop Leo Dalmao of the Prelature of Isabela, urged Catholics "not to allow incidents to sow more hatred but rather to seek an opportunity to spread understanding and peace". "I call on all the faithful to remain vigilant and to refuse any opportunity for these negative elements to sow division and hatred among us", he said.
Teresa Punzo, a local Catholic leader, told Fides that "these three recent acts of vandalism are deplorable. We are all called to respect each other's faith and to curb any act of provocation or violence between believers of different religions". (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 3/3/2021)