DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 Oct) – “Let’s move on with our lives. I know God will not leave us behind,” said a tearful Dennis Larida, whose wife Melanie and only child Deniel Josh, 12, were among the 15 who perished during the September 2 bombing at the Roxas Night Market.
Larida’s faith in God has not wavered despite losing his entire family. At the unveiling of the memorial at the blast site on Tuesday, the 40th day since the bombing, he said he is leaving it up to God to bring justice to the bombing victims.
“On justice, ‘Vengeance is mine,’ says the Lord. Let’s not dwell on it anymore because it’s in God’s hands now. Let’s just pray that someday the suspects who did this would know the Lord,” he said in Cebuano.
Larida called for vigilance so that no such similar incidents will occur in the city again.
“Let’s be vigilant. Let’s not be complacent. Let’s be strong as a Dabawenyo. Let’s not give in to the threats of terrorism in our city,” he said.
Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who led the unveiling, said that with he help of a florist, she did the design on the landscaping of the marker that is adorned with plants around two upper circles and a bougainvillea in the middle to represent the victims who died.
The first layer symbolizes “the people,” the second is “Earth,” and third is “heaven,” according to Duterte.
“We wanted ang marker na labored, so that we will never forget what happened. We placed living plants there, everyday we take care of it and we will always remember what happened so that we will always be vigilant and help each other to prevent another senseless attack,” she said.
Tuesday’s unveiling was graced by department heads of the City Government and families and relatives of the Roxas blast victims that killed 15 and injured 69 others.
Three suspects identified as TJ Tagadaya Macabang, Wendell Facturan, and Musali Mustapha, who are members of the so-called Maute Group, were initially reported abducted at gunpoint and later were reported arrested in a checkpoint on October 4 in Cotabato City. They were presented to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on October 7.
In a statement issued also on October 7, Duterte said the arrest of the suspects is a welcome development.
“This development is commendable as we vow to expeditiously give justice to the 15 victims who died and the 69 others who were wounded in the blast,” she said.
Duterte emphasized the arrest should lead to the dismantling of terror groups to foil more senseless acts of violence and extremism.
“We also need to remember that this does not end our desire to give justice to the victims and those whose lives were forever changed by that horrendous act of terrorism on the night of September 2 in our beloved city,” she said.
The mayor urged the public to be vigilant and show the world “we do not surrender to fear nor do we allow terrorism to cripple our humanity and undermine our values.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)