MALACAÑANG on Saturday, March 16, offered prayers and sympathies to New Zealand, following the mass shootings at two mosques in central Christchurch that resulted in the death of 49 people.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Philippines, along with all peace-loving nations and peoples around the world, condemned "in the strongest and in no uncertain terms" the "reprehensible" act that intends to sow "terror and fear."
"The Government and the people of the Philippines stand with New Zealand during this time of grief and outrage," Panelo said.
"This reprehensible act has no place in a civilized world. The Philippines rebukes all efforts to sow terror and fear between and among peoples," he added.
According to reports, at least 49 people were killed and dozens others sustained injuries in what appears to be a carefully planned and unprecedented mass shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday, March 15.
The attack, which was streamed live on social media giant Facebook, was carried out when mosques were full of worshippers.
A 28-year-old man identified as Brenton Harrison Tarrant was charged with murder and was expected to appear in a Christchurch courtroom on Saturday morning.
The Duterte government condoled with the victims of the assault in the places of worship, Panelo said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in this tragic incident, and we pray for strength and speedy recovery of those who were injured," the Palace official said.
Panelo noted that the Department of Foreign Affairs has already been instructed to closely monitor the situation and check the condition of Filipino nationals residing in Christchurch.
Following the mass shootings in New Zealand, Panelo expressed hope that the "unified action" among nations to stop terrorism and other unlawful acts would prevail.
"There has to be a universal unified action as well as a conscious and determined effort to neutralise and demolish any attempt at destabilising the order in societies and the tranquility of their citizens and secure the safety of lives and properties of the inhabitants of the globe," he said.
"We cannot allow ourselves to be held hostage by fear and intimidation sown by terrorists and psychologically challenged persons and live in an endangered environment. With unity in action against the enemies of the states, we shall prevail," he added. (SunStar Philippines)