Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday condemned the bombing of a Catholic church in Jolo, Sulu, where several people were killed and dozens of others were injured.
VP Leni underscored the need to bring justice to the victims and their families in the soonest time possible, in order to prevent similar attempts from happening.
“Itong nangyari sa Sulu, napakalungkot. Sana hindi na ito mangyari muli,” she said in an interview in Cagayan de Oro City. “Mahalaga na kung sino iyong mga salarin dito, saka iyong mga biktima, mabigyan talaga ng katarungan. Kasi kung hindi, parang na-e-embolden lang iyong iba na gumawa pa ng mga similar na hakbang.”
According to reports, at least 20 people were killed in the twin bombings at the Jolo Cathedral on Sunday morning, while some 77 others were injured.
VP Leni lamented that the bombings came on the heels of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and other key areas just last week.
“Nakakalungkot na sa panahon na umaasa tayo na matutuldukan na iyong lahat na kaguluhan dito sa Mindanao, mangyayari iyong ganito,” she said.
Sulu was the lone province under the ARMM to reject the BOL, which seeks to expand the autonomous Muslim region in Mindanao. However, the ‘yes’ votes handily won in the region, with other ARMM provinces approving the ratification of the law.
Despite her support for the BOL’s ratification, VP Leni has underscored that there should be space for concerns raised by those who have apprehensions against the BOL. She earlier called on the government to ensure that these concerns are taken into consideration as it moves forward with the establishment of the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
On Sunday, she stressed anew that the BOL is not an all-in-one solution to the long-standing problems of Mindanao, but an “instrument” towards finding solutions to these challenges.
“Maraming nagsasabi na kaya ayaw nila ito kasi hindi naman nito masosolusyonan iyong maraming suliranin. Pero hindi natin kasi siya tinitingnan na solusyon—tinitingnan natin siya na paraan para mahanapan ng solusyon [iyong mga suliraning ito],” she said. “Mahalaga na iyong mga may pakiramdam na hindi sila napapakinggan, mabigyan ng isang plataporma para iyong boses nila, para walang takot na naipapaabot.”
“Iyong palagay ko, iyong BOL sana, isa siya sa mga mahalagang instrumento para iyong mga nawalan ng boses, o pakiramdam nilang nawalan sila ng boses, magkaroon ng isang pagkakataon na naipapahayag nila iyong kanilang saloobin,” she added.
VP Leni also said her office will look into how it can assist the victims of the bombings and their families.