Kidnapped Philippine priest Fr Teresito “Chito” Suganob has appeared in a video pleading for help a week after his abduction by Islamic militants.
Fr Chito said the terrorists were demanding the Philippine government stop its military offensive them, or else they would execute the prisoners.
“Mr. President, please consider us,” Fr Chito says. “They don’t ask for anything… they just ask that you leave this place peacefully.”
“We are in the midst of this war we are asking your help to please give what they are asking for.”
CBCP News, the official news service of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said it was unclear when the video was taken, but it does show Fr Chito amongst destroyed houses.
“Mr. President, if you want me to kneel before you just to knock your heart in favour of our families who are crying out there in different places, for our relatives… we will do that,” the priest adds.
He also said the militants were ready to “die for their religion”.
“Mr. President, you can’t use force and violence because they have the commitment they will die for this.”
Fr Chito was kidnapped last Tuesday night along with at least a dozen worshippers and church workers.
Violence erupted in Marawi last week after the military raided the hideout of Islamist commander Isnilon Hapilon. The extremists retaliated by laying siege to the city, burning buildings, raising ISIS flags, and killing at least two police officers.
The vicar general of Marawi said that along with Fr Chito there are about 240 more hostages, including women and children.