Bombing during MSU Catholic Mass Act of Terrorism, President Marcos Jr. Vows Justice

Bombing during MSU Catholic Mass Act of Terrorism, President Marcos Jr. Vows Justice

Manila - Philippine authorities heightened security measures on Sunday following a bombing incident during a Catholic Mass in a gymnasium at Mindanao State University in Marawi, Philippines, on December 3, 2023.

The blast occurred in Marawi, a city previously besieged by pro-Islamic State militants in 2017. The incident followed a military operation in Maguindanao del Sur, 200 km away, where 11 combatants were killed on Friday.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has vowed to ensure that the perpetrators of the bombing at Mindanao State University (MSU) face justice. Condemning the violent act carried out by "foreign terrorists," he labelled such extremists as enemies of society.

Army Major General Gabriel Viray III labelled the attack at Mindanao State University, which resulted in four deaths and numerous injuries as a terrorist act.

The military, on high alert, is investigating the motive and identifying those responsible. Videos showed rescuers evacuating injured individuals from the gymnasium, which, aside from burn marks at the center, appeared intact.

Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. condemned terroristic attacks on educational institutions, emphasizing their role in promoting a culture of peace. The military's recent operation targeted the Dawlah Islamiyah-Philippines group, and investigations are underway to link them to the bombing.

The coast guard intensified pre-departure inspections at ports in response to the incident. Mindanao State University expressed deep sadness and condemnation of the violence, suspending classes indefinitely. The institution called the act senseless and horrific, emphasizing its commitment to peace.

In an official statement, Marcos declared, "We will bring the perpetrators of this ruthless act to justice." He strongly condemned the "senseless and most heinous acts" committed against MSU and the Marawi communities, emphasizing that those resorting to violence against the innocent will always be considered enemies of society.

Assuring the victims of the bombing, Marcos stated that his office is coordinating with key agencies and government units to provide assistance and ensure their safety. He highlighted the close collaboration with the regional government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and relevant Local Government Units. The President also directed the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to prioritize the protection and safety of civilians, deploying additional security personnel as needed.

Despite the gravity of the situation, Marcos urged Filipinos to remain calm to prevent the spread of inaccurate, unvetted, and unofficial information regarding the "horrific event." Lawmakers, including Lanao del Sur 1st District Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong, expressed their firm denunciation of the attack on Christian faithful during a Holy Mass inside the campus gym.

Representative Adiong vehemently condemned the perpetrators as murderers who targeted innocents in prayer, emphasizing that there is no room in Marawi, Lanao, or the entire Philippines for such acts. She called on the national government to spare no effort in bringing the perpetrators of this vile act to justice, considering it the bare minimum to ensure the protection of citizens' right to life.

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