Riposi In Pace - Gentle Giant

Father Giancarlo Bossi

I was sitting in the departure hall at the airport of Puerto Princessa and waiting for flying out of Palawan Island to Cebu City.

They showed different noisy contents on the three installed TV's. So even I tried to make the plastic seat as comfortable as possible and took a look outside threw the glassed fascade of the hall or I could watch the horroable horror movie, made in the Philippines. 

Between this noisy film and knowledge lessons a la "Do you know when Ketchup was invented?", I recognized the news on another screen.

By the way, do you know the answer for the ketchup-question? They showed it was in the year 1830 and firstly sold as a medicine. I guess there were different theories about it.

Back to the news, they reported about the death of the former kidnapped victim Father Giancarlo Bossi, an Italian priest who was living for over 32 years in the Philippines. Bossi was born in Abbiategrasso in Milan on February 19, 1950.

The gentle giant, so his nickname, because of his height from over 1,90m and his athletic and stout stature, served here in the Philippines as a PIME missionary (Pontificio Istituto Missioni Estore) and died in the Humanitas clinic in Rozzano sul Naviglio in Milan at the monring of September, 25th. He battled over a year with lung cancer. He died in the age of 62.

He was abducted in Payao (Zamboanga Sibugay, South of the Philippines) by a breakaway commando of the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a separatist group of Mindanao Island) when he headed to a village for celebrating a mass in 2007, June 10th.

“At first the kidnappers were 11, then they were only 5. They always respected me. I was taken on a boat to the area of Lanau del Norte, where they kept me. They moved me to a few different hiding places in a mountain zone, but without leaving the area. My kidnappers were always good to me. We spoke the Sibugay dialect to communicate, because I did’nt understand their language nor they spoke English”, Fr. Bossi had told MISNA (Missionary International Service News Agency) shortly after his release.

“I am a missionary, one among thousands of priests serving in poor countries worldwide. I have lived in the Philippines for 27 years. I will continue doing so, I hope. This episode will not change me. Or maybe not, something has changed: I have not smoked since June 27. I hope to not start again”, continued the missionary regarding his ordeal. (© by MISNA - Missionary International Service News Agency Srl)

Even Pope Benedict XVI appealed as many other faithfull to release Fr. Bossi. 

                                                    © Fabio Pozzebom, Agência Brasil

Father Bossi were released after 40 days held hostage on the 87 birthday of his mother. Afterwards he joined Pope Benedict XVI at a youth gathering in Loreto. He spoke to over 400.000 people about his experience during he was captured and how he got more strong than ever. "The poor in the whole world need the limitlessly and unconditionally people." He spoke about his physically abduction. In his opinion were much more people held hostage by poverty.

                                                                                                                       © MISNA
After his releasing.

After one year in Italy Father Bossi returned to the Philippines, but the bishop didn't allow him to return to his parish in Payao. Instead of this he worked in Western Mindoro.

And why do I write this all?

Because I have been in Davao (light red on the map), Mindanao (South part of the Philippines) two days ago. The provinces in the South and South-West part of the Philippines are still unsafe.

                                                                                                                           © Wikipedia

Davao is only 450km distance to the village Payao (Zamboanga Sibugay), where the military separatists abducted. The region of Mindanao is ruled by a kind of dictatorship.

However to short the story, it is like mostly a fight between muslims who want to be sovereign (or in this case part of Malaysia) and the government.

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