KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/ 03 September) – Catholic Church leaders in Mindanao condemned on Monday the latest deadly explosion in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat that killed two young persons and injured at least 12 others.
The latest powerful explosion in Isulan came five days after a deadly blast on a night market killed three persons and wounded 36 others on August 28 as the locality was in a festive mood for its foundation celebrations.
Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo expressed outraged over the two explosions that rocked Isulan town in less than a week.
“As the religious leader of all Catholics in the Archdiocese of Cotabato, I absolutely condemn these terroristic acts. I enjoin every true believer in the One True God, by whatever Name the Almighty and Merciful God is called, to pray for the victims and for their families,” the cardinal said in a statement.
Quevedo urged the military and the More Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front, which both forged a peace deal with the government, to flush out the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
“True Believers in God have to cry out in outrage at the terrorist bombings in the town of Isulan…All religions are religions of peace,” the prelate said.
Ozamiz Archbishop Martin Jumoad, who previously served in Basilan, a province notorious for being a bailiwick of the Abu Sayyaf, also denounced the latest bomb attack.
“We condemn this evil act. It is unfortunate it happened again,” the prelate said.
In July, 11 persons were killed when a car bomb exploded near a military detachment in Lamitan City, Basilan, which the military blamed on the Abu Sayyaf.
Jumoad castigated the perpetrators of the latest bomb attack for bringing agony to the blast victims and their families.
The prelate noted that a believer of one Almighty “can never allow to destroy life, for life is sacred.”
“May the Almighty touch the hearts of evil doers and may they realize the evil they inflict to the victims,” Jumoad said.
“Killing is evil and it destroys harmony between Muslims and Christians. Let us work together for peace because this effort unites people of good will,” he added.
Supt. Aldrin Gonzales, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office-12, said the latest bomb attack at around 7:28 pm on Sunday ripped an internet café victimizing mostly young people who are doing research or playing online games.
“This is the handiwork of terrorists,” he told the local media on Monday.
The local government cancelled classes on all levels on Monday to allow the police and the military to focus their efforts in investigating the deadly blast, said Isulan Mayor Marites Pallasigue.
Isulan town’s San Carlos Borromeo parish, which belongs to the Archdiocese of Cotabato, mourned the death of Jun Mark Luda, 18, who was declared dead by physicians after he was brought to a local hospital following the blast on Sunday night.
Jun Mark’s cousin, Marialyn Luda, 15, died Monday morning due to severe injuries from the blast, the police said.
Gonzales said eight victims remained confined at the hospital while four others were already discharged.
Condemning the latest bomb attack, parishioners described Jun Mark, an engineering student at the Sultan Kudarat State University, as an active, jolly, industrious and polite young man.
Sister Alice Original of the Oblates of Notre Dame asked for prayers for the repose of the soul of the young man.
“He is one of our active youth catechists in Isulan town,” said Sister Original, who last encountered the victim on July 29 during a basic catechism orientation seminar.
Along with other volunteers, Jun Mark would teach catechism classes at public schools in the town during his free time from school, the nun said.
Parishioner Josiphine Patosa said the parish was saddened by the death of Luda, whom she described as a big loss to the youth ministry.
“He’s smart and talented, his jolliness is contagious. We are saddened by his gory death,” Patosa said. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)