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Interfaith group assails bombers but insists responsibility still lies with the President

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By Chito Chavez

Another group has joined the fray in condemning the recent twin bombing incidents in a cathedral in Jolo, Sulu which gained global prominence prompting the United Kingdom and other countries to issue travel advisories which warned their citizens against travelling to Mindanao.

With the incident creating another black eye for the country, interfaith group Moro-Christian Peoples Alliance (MCPA) assailed the perpetrators of the gory bombing incidents where at least 20 people were killed and 80 others injured.

This handout photo released by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Public Information Office (PIO) Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCON) taken on January 27, 2019, shows debris inside a Catholic Church where two bombs exploded in Jolo, Sulu (AFP PHOTO - ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, WESTERN MINDANAO COMMAND / MANILA BULLETIN)

This handout photo released by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Public Information Office (PIO) Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCON) taken on January 27, 2019, shows debris inside a Catholic Church where two bombs exploded in Jolo, Sulu (AFP PHOTO – ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, WESTERN MINDANAO COMMAND / MANILA BULLETIN)

As a people of faith, the MCPA said “there is no justification for this inhumane act, an affront to our collective belief of respect for our faiths, lives and rights of our people’’.

Bai Amirah Lidasan MCPA chairperson also noted the difficulty in pinning the bombing to mere acts of vengeance to the outcome of the plebiscite as some had speculated.

“While the plebiscite tested the unity of the Moro people, and in general the Moro and Christians in Mindanao, we are all in one achieving peace in Mindanao,’’ MCPA said in a statement.

Citing that violent acts have no place in a civil society, the group said “we must look more into the consequences of the recent bombing – strengthen martial rule in Mindanao, deploying more troops in the Moro community and justify bombing of our communities to flush out the supposed perpetrators’’.

MCPA insisted the people should “question what Martial Law imposes to the public, that it is needed to stop the bombing when for 18 months of Martial Law bombs of crude and sophisticated materiel are exploding in Moro areas that are secured by thousands of military and police’’.

“We cannot help but also think how the bombing will boost the national government and the military’s argument that the revised Human Security Act should immediately be passed by Congress and Senate to curb terrorism yet provisions target more on criminalizing collective rights to public assembly and other civil and political rights,’’ the group insisted.

Lidasan maintained that in the end, responsibility lies in President Duterte and his military for continuing to impose fear to the public through imposition of Martial Law’’.

MCPA also claimed the government had “forced its hand in what should have been a choice for the Moro people to make – not only by deploying more than 20,000 AFP and police to secure the polls’’ citing stories of vote buying and massive cheating abound during the recently concluded plebiscite.

“Responsibility lies with them for breeding disunity and suspicion among the Moro people and the Muslims and Christians in general,’’ the group concluded.

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