Considering the horrendous loss of innocent lives in last Friday’s bombing attack in Davao City, it is difficult to achieve a consensus on the appropriate response to the decidedly brazen act of terror.
Religious leaders and certain lawmakers agreed that peaceful solutions should ironically be adopted to address the problem.
However, state security and law enforcement authorities insist pursuit and swift justice against perpetrators of the attack are the order of the day.
Historically, the nation is split when it comes to responding to acts of terror.
And so, we hear from the voices of peace as The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and lawmakers from the House of Representatives strongly condemned the bombing incident in Davao City that killed at least 14 people and wounded 67 others on Friday, but said the people should respond with peace and not vengeance.
In a statement, CBCP president Archbishop Socrates Villegas said, “Violence shocks us. Acts of terrorism jolt us. When fellowmen die, a part of our humanity dies, too.’’
“We pray for peace for the dead victims. We pray for healing for the wounded. We pray for strength for the bereaved families. We pray for the restoration of brotherhood and harmony for Davao and for the nation.”
Davao Rep. Karlo Nograles said, “We condemn in the strongest sense the terroristic attack against innocent civilians of Davao City. We pray for the victims of the blast and their families, and assure them of government’s support.
“We also pray for those responsible for this abhorrent act, that you may realize humankind will not succumb to hatred. If you pursue your wicked agenda at the cost of innocent lives, it will only strengthen the people’s resolve to reject it.”
On Friday, an explosion rocked the crowded Roxas night market across the Ateneo de Davao at around 11 p.m.
The Catholic prelate offered prayers for the victims and “for the restoration of brotherhood and harmony for Davao and for the nation.”
He also hoped people would not be vengeful against the perpetrators of the attack.
On the other hand, police and military authorities are convinced the Abu Sayyaf was responsible for the attack, considered to be a retaliatory strike for the massive offensive against the terror group in Sulu.
National Police Chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Saturday night said that the terrorist group was responsible for the bombing at the night market in Davao City .
The Armed Forces earlier said that the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf Group has claimed responsibility for the Davao bombing.
Dela Rosa said that the Davao bombing could have been a “diversionary tactic” of the ASG so that the government forces would be on the “defensive” mode, rather than “offensive” to ease up the all-out war against the ASG, especially in Sulu province.
As of Saturday, the all-out war against the ASG has claimed the lives of 15 government troops and 30 ASG bandits in Sulu.