Filipino Church prays for the victims in Davao

September 4, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Philippines, September 3, 2016: The Catholic Church in the Philippines is praying for the victims of the explosion that hit a city night market in Davao, southern Philippines. Davao is the hometown of the current president Rodrigo Duterte: 14 people died in the attack, at least 60 were wounded. In a note Msgr. Socrates Villegas, president of the Philippine Bishops Conference (CBCP), strongly condemns the brutal attack and stresses that “when a fellow dies, a part of humanity dies at the same time.”

Among the victims – on the night of  September 2 – there are also a pregnant woman and a small child. According to the Philippine authorities the Islamic extremist militia Abu Sayyaf, active in the south of the country, is to blame for the attack although at first the suspects had focused on drug traffickers.

The President, who was in this area at the time of the attack, has declared a “state of lawlessness”. The measure does not involve martial law, but checkpoints are predisposed in the area and there will be “coordinated effort” between police and soldiers against terrorism and drug trafficking.

The Philippine defense minister Delfin Lorenzan confirmed that the Abu Sayyaf militia is behind the explosion and that the attack was revenge for the many losses in the stronghold of Jolo, about 900 km from Davao, as a result of an offensive carried out by the special forces.

Investigators have found shards and fragments of a homemade bomb on the blast site. The state of alert is highest in the capital Manila, where authorities have already tightened security.

The explosion in Davao occurred in an area adjacent to the Marco Polo Hotel, a point frequently visited by President Duterte who, every weekend, returns to his city of origin.

In the aftermath of the attack the president of the Filipino bishops announced a “common prayer” with Msgr. Romulo Valles, archbishop of Davao, and with all his saints. “We are all in mourning – said the President CBCP – for the death of innocent brothers and sisters.” We pray for “the” eternal “peace for the victims”, for “the healing of the wounded” and to “give strength” to all the families who have suffered violence. “And finally, we pray – he concluded – for the resumption of brotherhood and harmony in Davao and across the nation.”

Davao is the most populous city in the southern Philippines, with its two million inhabitants. It is about 1500 km from Manila and is part of the southern region of Mindanao, where Muslim separatist militants have been fighting a separatist war for decades. The violence killed more than 120 thousand people. Duterte was mayor of the city for over 20 years, before winning the election and swearing in – on June 30 – as president.

– asianews

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