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Marcos condemns deadly Marawi blast, vows to hunt down perpetrators


Gaea Katreena Cabico – Philstar.com

December 3, 2023 | 1:44pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. condemned Sunday the attack at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City that left at least four people dead and injured dozens.

An explosion ripped through the MSU’s Dimaporo gymnasium while a Catholic Mass was being held Sunday morning, coinciding with the commemoration of the Mindanao Week of Peace.

In a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, Marcos condemned what he called “senseless and most heinous acts perpetrated by foreign terrorists.” The Philippine National Police, in a separate statement, said that it is working to identify the individuals or groups behind the blast. 

“I extend my most heartfelt condolences to the victims, their loved ones, and the communities that have been the target of this latest assault on peace,” Marcos said. 

The president said he is in close coordination with the Bangsamoro government and has instructed the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to ensure the safety of civilians. 

“As reports come in throughout the day, I enjoin all of us to remain calm, circumspect, and conscientious in our collective efforts to ensure that the horrific events of this morning are not further compounded by inaccurate, unvetted, and unofficial information,” Marcos said. 

“Rest assured we will bring the perpetrators of this ruthless act to justice,” he added. 

‘No to violence in schools’

In a statement condemning the explosion, Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim said that MSU is an academic institution that has always welcomed people of different faiths. 

“We must see to it that this tradition will endure these times of tribulations,” he said. 

In a separate statement, the Bangsamoro Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education stressed that it stands firmly against violence in educational institutions, which are supposed to be safe spaces for learning and growth. 

“We shall continue to advocate for the safety and well-being of all students, faculty members, and school personnel in the Bangsamoro and the rest of the country,” the ministry said. 

Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra urged members of the city’s Muslim and Christian communities to remain unified. 

“Our city has long been a beacon of peaceful coexistence and harmony, and we will not allow such acts of violence to overshadow our collective commitment to peace and unity,” he said. 

In an interview with DZBB, Police BGen Allan Nobleza, regional director of the Bangsamoro police, said that authorities are investigating a range of motives, including the possible retaliation by ISIS-inspired group Dawlah Islamiyah. An airstrike launched by the military Friday killed 11 militants from the Dawlah Islamiyah. 

He also said that ordnance disposal exports are working to determine the type of improvised explosive device used in the attack. 

The blast occurred six years after hundreds of pro-Islamic State foreign and local gunmen seized Marawi, the country’s largest Muslim city. The Philippine military reclaimed the city after a five-month battle that resulted in the loss of over a thousand lives.

 

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