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Philippine cardinals urge prayer for hostages

Cardinal Jaime Sin has called on Filipinos to pray for the release of the Abu Sayyaf hostages, as well as a speedy trial for former President Estrada, and aid to earthquake victims.

In a letter issued last week, the Cardinal, who is Archbishop of Manila, encouraged the people to pray the rosary.

"We must pray that the hostages may be released soon, that their families may find peace, that the dead may find eternal rest and that the bandits return to the fold of law and stop their inhuman, illegal and immoral activities".

Meanwhile Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, president of the Bishops' Conference, stressed the need to distinguish between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Abu Sayyaf terrorists. The former has legitimate aspirations for autonomy, the latter is a terrorist group which inflicts atrocities on innocent people.

"Putting the MILF and the Abu Sayyaf together is an error of judgement and would intensity hatred between Muslims and Christians" he said.