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Bishops condemn Jolo church bombings

Bishops condemn Jolo church bombings

Several killed and dozens wounded in twin blasts at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday, Jan. 27. PHOTO COURTESY OF AFP WESTERN MINDANAO COMMAND

By Roy Lagarde

January 27, 2019

Manila, Philippines

Catholic bishops condemned the twin explosions that rocked a cathedral in a southern Philippine city on Sunday which claimed several lives.

At least 20 people were killed and dozens injured in what the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines described as an “act of terrorism”.

The bishops were on the second day of their regular plenary assembly in Manila when they prayed for the victims and their relatives and asked God to bring an end to violence.

“We condole with the families of the several soldiers and civilians who were killed by the explosions,” said Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP President.

A bomb exploded inside the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulo at about 8:30 AM as worshippers were gathered for mass.

Few seconds later, another explosion hit the parking lot of the cathedral.

The attacks took place few days after voters in a plebiscite backed the creation of a new Muslim autonomous region, which has been deemed ratified by the Commission on Elections.

The poll body said 1.5 million people voted in favor of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Majority of the people in Sulu, however, voted against the Bangsamoro law.

As the region begins a new phase in the peace process, the bishops asked the Christians to “join hands with all peace-loving Muslim and indigenous people communities in the advocacy against violent extremism”.

“May all our religions of peace guide us in our quest for a brighter future for the peoples of Mindanao,” they said.