By Francis Wakefield
After being held hostage by Daesh-inspired Maute Group terrorist for almost four months, Catholic priest Father Rey Teresito “Chito” Soganub officiated for the first time a mass inside Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Sunday.
Fr. Chito, it was recalled, was rescued together with another hostage by government forces at the Bato Mosque inside the main battle area (MBA) in Marawi City on September 16.
Army Col. Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of the Joint Task Force Ranao, said the mass was held inside Camp Aguinaldo where around 40 military personnel and civilians attended.
“It was a great celebration of life for Father Chito whose personal safety was placed in danger because of the fierce gun battle that is happening in Marawi City,” Brawner said.
“According to Father Chito, the mass is also a thanksgiving for the lives of those who were rescued,” he added.
Brawner said to date, a total of 1,730 people have been rescued by the government forces and other government agencies since the siege began.
Meanwhile, some 45 to 50 civilians are still being kept as hostages by the Maute Group.
Brawner said Father Chito is praying that he would be able to say mass again at the St. Mary’s Cathedral in Marawi City once the firefight is over and the area is cleared of improvised explosive devices that were laid by the terrorists.