Caritas Philippines has called for greater security at Christian gatherings in the wake of a deadly bombing at a Mass in the Catholic-majority nation. Source: UCA News.
“Concerted efforts must be made to prevent the recurrence of such violent incidents and to safeguard the fundamental right to worship without fear,” Caritas Philippines president Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo said after a terrorist attack during a Mass at Mindanao State University in Marawi on Sunday left four students dead and 50 injured.
Islamic State militants have claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Bishop Bagaforo said he was appalled “by the blatant act of terror that the perpetrators were able to commit”.
He urged all stakeholders, including the government and religious leaders, “to collaborate” to foster peace.
In a statement, Caritas Philippines expressed condolences to the victims and their families.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued a warning to the perpetrators.
“Rest assured, we will bring the perpetrators of this ruthless act to justice.”
Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippines, is home to many Islamist insurgent groups.
The Philippine military wrested back Marawi, the capital of Lanao del Sur, in the southern Philippines after months of fighting Islamic-State fighters who seized it in May 2017.
During the Marawi siege, Mindanao State University became a centre point of the government forces.
On Sunday, the university suspended classes and all academic activities “until further notice” and deployed additional security personnel.
Meanwhile, Bishop Marcelino Antonio Maralit, who leads the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission on Social Communications, offered a moment of silence for the terror attack victims at a gathering of Catholic communicators on Sunday, CBCP News reports.
Caritas Philippines seeks security for Christian gatherings (By Ronlad O Reyes, UCA News)