MANILA, Sept. 13, 2013— A Catholic priest, freed from captivity in Zamboanga City, paused his joy over his freedom to make a plea today for the safe release of his father and other hostages.
The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) freed Fr. Michael Ufana on early Friday as the crisis in city entered its fifth day Friday.
Msgr. Crisologo Manongas, current archdiocesan administrator, said he already talked with Ufana over the phone immediately after his release and assured that the priest is in “good spirit.”
“He is still worried about his father and the rest of the hostages (that were left behind),” Manongas said.
Ufana was with his family in Barangay Sta. Catalina when the Muslim rebels infiltrated the area and other villages and held them, along with other civilians, as hostages.
However, Manongas said Ufana’s mother and his two siblings were able to escape yesterday while the rebels were fighting with the government troops.
The monsignor said they are giving Ufana the freedom to decide what he wants to do “to regain his strength after his ordeal.”
“We will give him time to decide. If he wants to rest, because he has to be with his family also,” Manongas said.
“We are concerned with the wellbeing of Fr. Michael so we will make sure that he is well taken cared of and be given due rest that he need,” said Manongas.
Ufana is currently the head of St. Joseph Church, a Chinese Community Parish, located within the city. (CBCPNews)