Having served on a short-term mission to the Philippines, there remains a special place in our hearts for their spiritual health and social progress.
[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The Bishop of Davao in the Philippines has condemned “in unequivocal terms” a bomb attack in the city’s night time market on Friday that killed 14 people – one of them a pregnant woman. Bishop Jonathan Casimina said that the island of Mindanao had “suffered long enough from the shadow of war”. He said that Friday’s blast, which targeted the many people attending roadside food and merchandise stalls in the popular Roxas Night Market came at a time of “bated optimism on the prospects of sustainable peace.”
The blast struck at 10.20 pm local time (2.20 pm GMT). Ten people were killed instantly and 71 people were wounded. Four of those later died of their injuries. There have been ongoing efforts to establish a peace accord between the government, the National Democratic Front and the various Moro armed groups.
Bishop Casimina said that under the shadow of “widespread trauma and fear linked to militarisation, economic injustice, climate change, and a myriad of other specific forms of violence,” the Church “stands for peace in the presence of conflict; for love in the presence of hatred; for forgiveness in the presence of injury" and most importantly for justice to be served on the victims of violence.
“Justice and peace are central to our faith and essential component of the ministry of the Church. lt is in that spirit that we condemn in unequivocal terms this grievous act of bloodshed that kills and maim the innocent.
“We call on all people of goodwill to stand in solidarity to uphold and defend the sacredness of life and the dignity of every person regardless of race, religion or culture. We call on the government to conduct thorough investigation and hold accountable the
perpetrators of the bombing.
“We offer our earnest prayers to all the victims and express our deepest sympathies to the bereaved families of those who perished; and we appeal to the government to address the root causes of conflict, mainly economic injustice, oppression and exploitation.”
He added: “Our Divine Creator pours grace and courage upon us through the power of the Holy Spirit to respond to the challenges of time. We pray that the ‘Lord give strength and bless his people with peace!’ We pray for the good people of Davao. We pray for peace to reign in our land.”