Basilan bishop on blast: ‘Don’t drag religion’

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/28 February)–Catholic Bishop Martin Jumoad, head of the Prelature of Isabela de Basilan, has urged “not to drag religion” into the bomb explosion that hit Lamitan City Friday evening.

Jumoad’s call came after an improvised explosive device exploded at around 9:10 p.m. Friday in front of the Saint Peter’s Church along Quezon Boulevard in Barangay Maganda, Lamitan City in Basilan province.

Senior Insp. Gean Gallardo, Lamitan City police chief, said the explosion did not harm anyone and also did not damage any property.

Gallardo said that an investigation is being conducted to determine the motive as well as to identify the suspects behind the incident.

Jumoad was saddened and surprised over the incident, which he described as “the work of evil people.”

“Let us not drag religion to let it appear that there is tension between Muslims and Catholics. This is the work of evil people and let us not be carried by our emotions. Instead, [let us] continue to work together for peace and harmony,” Jumoad said.

He urged the people to respect each other “because the only way to peace is through peaceful ways.”

The bishop also asked the people to pray more so that this season of Lent, “the Lord will guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Meanwhile, Lamitan City Mayor Rose Furigay has urged the Lamiteños to stay calm but vigilant and to immediately report to the authorities presence of people acting suspiciously and unattended baggage in their community.

Furigay also ordered the police and military to strengthen the security of Lamitan City.