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Home Sections Obituary-Memorial Park Filipino Educator-Social Worker Killed in Tawi-Tawi in a Kidnapping Attempt
Filipino Educator-Social Worker Killed in Tawi-Tawi in a Kidnapping Attempt PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Obituary-Memorial Park
Wednesday, 16 January 2008 02:11
Fr. Jesus Reynaldo Roda, OMI, was killed in an apparent kidnapping attempt in Tabawan, Tawi-Tawi, at 8:30 in the evening of January 15. He was praying in the chapel, as he used to do every night, when armed men barged in and tried to take him. He struggled and resisted being taken away, and explicitly said that he preferred to be killed right there and then. A witness said that he was beaten and then shot dead. The armed men also took some valuables from his office before fleeing, taking with them also a male teacher of Notre Dame of Tabawan who happened to be there.

Pope Benedict XVI has commended the good work of Fr. Jesus Reynaldo Roda, the priest who was killed in the southern Philippine province of Tawi-Tawi earlier this week.

Fr. Rey was the director of Notre Dame of Tabawan and in-charge of the mission station for the last 10 years. In recent years, he had been at the forefront of development-oriented initiatives in Tabawan, exerting efforts to harness public and private resources for projects, particularly in the field of primary-and-secondary education.

His body is in Tabawan as of this writing, and will be taken to Bongao early tomorrow morning. It is expected that Fr. Rey's body will be taken to Cotabato City and buried at the Oblate cemetery in Tamontaka.

At the moment, we have not been able to talk to Bishop Lito Lampon, who is unreachable by phone in Tongheat mission station, also in Tawi-Tawi.

The community asks for your prayers for his peaceful rest, for the comfort of his family and the people he so loved in Tabawan.

Here is the posting by Ms. Milet B. Mendoza: 

Today is a very sad day for the people of Tabawan and to all OMI brothers and close friends of Fr. Rey Roda, OMI. He was beaten and shot to death last night as he resisted armed men who wanted to kidnap him. This was actually a second attempt at kidnapping. Last year, more than ten armed men barged into his convent but Fr. Rey was out of town. To date, no investigation of the incident took place despite the requests of Fr. Rey. He had just reiterated the request recently when some people (authorities) visited him at the convent.

 

Fr. Rey was my close dear friend – a confidant, mentor and supporter. He had offered Tabawan to me as a home of peace loving Samal people. He had expressed concern every time I was in Sulu and had asked for me to work with him and the Tabawenos where it would be safer. We had kidded each other about what to say in our respective eulogy and who was to speak first. Now I don't remember everything he would have wanted me to say.

 

More than seven years in the poor and distant island, Fr. Rey had big dreams and hope for the people. I would visit at least three times a year (often his guest speaker) and was in fact due for a project assessment visit this month to pursue our programs for education and health. He had in fact held a meeting with his convenors last Friday to plan out the activities and preparations.  We had been working together since 2003 during the height of the deportation of Filipinos from Sabah - building core shelters, day care, feeding program for children and recently, the rehabilitation of classrooms. In our forthcoming undertaking, we were to expand to four more communities. He had assembled his Notre Dame of Tabawan teachers to become core convenors for peace and development work. Governance was a problem he was always grieving about. The recent elections had not resolved anything for South Ubian. 

 

Fr. Rey did not want to leave Tabawan yet because he still had more projects in the pipeline. He knew that when it was time to leave, the new leaders would have taken root.  I am in close touch with our Tabawan friends and they want justice for Fr. Rey. They are more driven to make their dreams for Tabawan happen given the inspiration and love Fr. Rey had shown to them all these years.  The people of Tabawan need the support of friends now more than ever.

 

Fr. Rey's body is now in Bongao and will stay there for some days. It will be buried in Cotabato. I had met him last in Jolo two trips back. His text messages came regularly. I had a vivid dream of him this morning and we talked about the incident. He was extremely sad.

 

I hope that the Tabawan people, whom Fr. Rey deeply loved, will be given the opportunity to pay their respects for Fr. Rey in a community thanksgiving and ritual sometime soon.

 

Let us also pray for Mr. Omar Taup, the dedicated president of “Voices that Care” and a faculty member of NDT. He was handcuffed while working at the faculty room last night and taken as well. He is yet to be found. # # #



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Last Updated on Friday, 18 January 2008 11:39
 

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