Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Cardinal Quevedo condemned on Sunday the bombing of a Catholic Church in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat, calling it “pure terrorism.”
In a statement following the 5:40 a.m. Sunday bombing in front of Our Lady of Hope Parish Church in Barangay Saliao, Esperanza, Cardinal Quevedo said it was an attack against innocent civilians.
Two persons were injured when an improvised bomb detonated by still unidentified suspects exploded Sunday morning in front of the gate of the church.
“The bombing in front of the gate of Esperanza parish church at the end of our 5:30 a.m. First Sunday of Advent Mass is pure terrorism,” the prelate said.
“It was made worse because of the sacredness of the place, the sacredness of the day and the sacredness of the event that had just taken place,” he said, referring to the First Sunday of Advent Mass among Roman Catholics.
“As the leader of the Archdiocese of Cotabato, I voice my strong condemnation against this act of irrational terrorism,” Cardinal Quevedo said.
“It is an attack on innocent human lives,” he added.
The country’s second working cardinal said “it was also an attack on freedom to worship.”
He urged security officials to take control of the situation and bring the culprits before the bar of justice.
“I appeal to our security and police forces to ferret out those responsible and bring them to justice,” he said.
Cardinal Quevedo urged all peace loving citizens of Mindanao to remain vigilant while the island is celebrating the Mindanao Week of Peace.
“Let us all be vigilant against acts of terrorism.” he said.
Senior Supt. Raul Supiter, Sultan Kudarat provincial director, said the victims, John Renan Escanillan, 30, and Loren Erazo, 26, sustained only minor shrapnel wounds and are both out of danger.
The two were on board a silver Mitsubishi Adventure parked in front of the Church when the incident happened.
Police have put up checkpoints along major roads around the town and urged the public to report suspicious persons on motorbikes in the area. (PNA)