MANILA Senator Cynthia Villar on Monday raised concern over the deadly twin bombings in Jolo, Sulu as a possible attempt to undermine the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
Villar said the incident could also undermine the creation of the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao as a measure that seeks to "bring prosperity and lasting peace" in the southern Philippines.
"This bombing, which targeted innocent people as they celebrate the Sunday mass, is clearly an act of terrorism. This should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. No time should be wasted in hunting down those who are responsible for this senseless act," Villar said in a statement.
"I fully support our government as they vow to crush those responsible for the attack. I am also praying for the safety of military personnel as they go after the perpetrators," she added.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, in a separate statement, expressed hope that the Jolo bombing will not "derail or thwart our latest successes" in pursuing lasting peace in Mindanao, especially with the recently-ratified BOL.
"We must not let any act of violence stop us from working as one nation for the cause of peace and progress for all," Hontiveros said.
"I urge the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to do everything to bring the perpetrators of this atrocity to justice, and to make sure that no similar threats will again endanger the safety of our people, not only in Mindanao, but in the whole country as well," Hontiveros said.
Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said he believes those behind the "dastardly" attack "clearly" wanted to taint the victory achieved by the Bangsamoro people in their ratification of the BOL.
"The AFP and PNP should pursue these terrorists at all cost and they should double up their security presence to prevent any more of this untoward incidences from happening in and out of Mindanao," Zubiri said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, meanwhile, said "targeting the innocent and the helpless is the highest form of cowardice."
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian urged the government to ensure that places of worship are kept "safe and secure at all costs."
Senator Francis Pangilinan called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators to give justice to the victims and send a strong message that this government will not "allow the rule of violence to triumph."
"We have come such a long way in our quest to realize the peace we have long desired for Muslim Mindanao. Let's not allow it to be derailed this time," Pangilinan said.
The senators condoled with the loved ones of the victims of the incident.
The bombing, which took place inside and outside a Roman Catholic church in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday, left at least 20 people dead and several others wounded. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency