Catholic church on Davao blast: 'Respond with peace'

LINGAYEN-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the Catholic church is grieving over the death of more than 14 individuals and several others wounded over a bomb explosion in Davao City Friday night.

"We are in prayerful communion with the Archbishop of Davao and our countrymen in that city. We grieve too over the death of innocent brothers and sisters due to the bombing past midnight," he said in a statement.

He added: "Violence shocks us. Acts of terrorism jolt us. When fellowmen die, a part of our humanity dies too."

At the same time, the Catholic prelate offered prayers to the victims in the blast.

"We pray for peace for the dead victims. We pray for healing for the wounded. We pray for strength for the bereaved families. We pray for the restoration of brotherhood and harmony for Davao and for the nation," Villegas said.

With this, he is hoping that people will not fight back to seek vengeance versus the perpetrators of the attack.

"Let not vengeance be our response but peace. Christ our peace, restore our peace," the Lingayen-Dagupan bishop said.

"Gandhi said: I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

Meanwhile, Davao City Bishop Romulo Valles urged the people to be calm in the midst of the explosion in the said city.

“Let us be calm and be confident knowing that the Lord is always with his children, and that he will bring to justice those cause pain and harm to his children,” he said.

With this, the Catholic prelate labeled the incident as inhuman and evil act, admitting that they were shocked upon learning of the bombing.

“I share the shock, the fear and anxiety of the people caused by this inhuman and evil act, the bombing, that happened here last night, at the same time I share also the pain, the grief, of those whose loved ones were killed last night, whose loved ones, critically injured, are now in hospitals,” he said.

At the same time, Valles urged the people to pray for the people of Davao.

“And in prayer I call upon all men and women of goodwill in the city, with God's blessing and grace, to renew our resolve to continue our caring for one another as brothers and sisters, that as Dabawenyos, we stand together to keep our community a home of peace and love,” he said.

The Davao bishop added, “We ask the Lord to guide and bless our city government leadership as they continue to serve us, especially in the present difficult situation.”

Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines -Public Affairs Committee (CBCP-PAC) also called on the Filipinos to continue to pray for the victims and for the country to achieve peace during this time.

“Let's also call on our people to pray for the victims of the bombing in Davao and that peace may reign in our country,” he said.

At the same time, the Manila priest believed that President Rodrigo Duterte is only thinking of the safety and welfare of the people when he declared “state of lawlessness” in the country.

“I think the government is doing its best to ensure the safety and security of our citizens,” he said.

The priest of the Nuestra Señora del Perpetuo Socorro Parish in Manila is hoping that the declaration will not be abused.

“We just have to make an appeal that the state of lawlessness will not be used to trample on the rights of the ordinary and innocent Filipinos,” he said.

Secillano added: “To allay the fears and concerns of the public, I think it would be better for the government to clarify the scope and extent of its actions while the country is under the "state of lawlessness."

At least 14 people were killed and dozen others were injured when a bomb exploded at a night market in Roxas Street, Davao City at around 10 pm on September 2.

The incident prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare "state of lawlessness" in the country. (FP/Sunnex)





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