MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/04 September) – In his first pastoral letter after the August 29 grenade-lobbing incident in the San Vicente Ferrer Parish church in Kalilangan town, Bukidnon bishop Jose Araneta Cabantan called for prayers as he said “peace could be achieved only through peaceful means.”
The bishop said in his September 1 letter read in churches that it was a “terroristic act” that threatened peace and that according to the Church’s “Code of Canon Law”, the act was an affront to the Church.
As a result, he has asked parishioners of San Vicente Ferrer Parish to hold penitential service by a “Holy Hour” for three straight days to consecrate place of worship once again.
Two grenades were lobbed towards the altar of the church at around 6:30 a.m. on Sunday as the first mass was starting, but the first exploded prematurely near the front door and the other did not explode at all. Two children suffered slight injuries.
Cabantan asked the Catholic faithful throughout the Diocese to pray for peace after what was dubbed as the first attack on a place of worship in the Diocese of Malaybalay.
“Peace that is fruit of the respect of the dignity of every person,” he said as he urged the public to “have faith amidst the threats to peace being experienced.”
The bishop also called for prayers for the police so they could solve the series of threat against peace in the surroundings.
Cabantan also called for prayers for the local and national government leaders, “that they maybe steadfast in the search for the root causes of all this,” he added.
The bishop also called for prayers for the perpetrators “that God may enlighten them.”
Police Senior Supt. Nerio Bermudo, Bukidnon police provincial director said the incident was possibly related to a ‘rido’ between a Maranao clan and a non-Maranao clan in the town.
Bermudo dismissed speculations that the incident was related to a terroristic act. He said the incident was the first time to happen in Kalilangan
Earlier, Bishop Cabantan, quoting parish priest Art Paraiso, said the incident was linked to a land conflict.
Cabantan said that Paraiso, who is involved in the land conflict as an advocate of agrarian reform, declared he does not believe the attack was the handiwork of “irate Maranao Muslims”.
Kalilangan borders Wao, a town in the predominantly Maranao province of Lanao del Sur which is part of the Diocese of Malaybalay.
“His (Paraiso’s) suspicion is that this (attack) is related to a land issue in which he himself is with the farmers for the full implementation of CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program),” Cabantan said.
Paraiso is said to be very active on the issue of the comprehensive agrarian reform program extension with reform (CARPER). He is supporting farmers who are urging the government to y implement the law in their favor.
Paraiso, ordained priest on Oct. 20, 2009, said he believes he was the target of the attack.
Bermudo dismissed speculations that the incident was related to a terroristic act. He said the incident was the first time to happen in Kalilangan. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)