We have lost brothers, sisters, and friends, and we are in deep grief and sorrow. We are one with their families in this difficult time – for they were also a family to us. Our grief is even greater as the bombing happened at a time when the Holy Mass is being celebrated at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral. Indeed, they have died as martyrs witnessing to their Christian faith as they braved to stay in Jolo despite constant intimidation and risks. Our sympathy also extends to the men in uniform whose lives were sacrificed in their duty to protect the community. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this treacherous, inhumane, and evil act of violence against the people of Jolo, especially to the Christian community. Such barbaric deed has no place in a civilized society where sacredness of life and human dignity is respected. We therefore implore all concerned authorities to do their utmost duty to bring immediate justice to victims, their families, and the entire community of Jolo who are deeply afflicted by this atrocity. Over the past decades, our people – Christians, Muslims, and Lumads – have been striving to work together to bring forth harmony, peace, and progress to this land. It is our hope that this tragic incident may not be a source of division therefore, but rather a strong reason to build-up a community that is centered on the values of peace, dialogue, friendship, love, and solidarity that transcends religion, culture, or belief.
JOLO, Sulu – Philippines
The death toll in the Jolo Cathedral bombings has reached 27 dead and 77 have been injured. Of the fatalities, seven were soldiers and 20 civilians who were inside the Church and those outside and across the street during the secondary explosion.
The first blast occurred inside Our Lady of Mt. Carmel cathedral while a mass was going on at 8:28 a.m. The second bomb exploded at the carpark about 8:44 a.m. when the police and bomb experts were investigating the incident and responders rushing victims to hospitals. The secondary blast originated from a Honda XRM parked along with other vehicles at the Church’s car park area. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
(Editor’s note: Since this article was published ISIS (The Islamic State) has claimed responsibility for the attack)
This is the official statement of Fr. Romeo Saniel, OMI,the Apostolic Administrator of Jolo:
“Please pray for the victims of Mount Carmel Cathedral bombing in Jolo. Bishop Lito Lampon and I were attending the 118th CBCP Plenary in Manila when we heard the tragic news. I am now at Manila Airport as a waitlisted passenger for Zamboanga. If I can’t make it tonight, I will take the military plane tomorrow early morning and join the group of Sec Lorenzana who will visit Jolo.
Most of those who died were our regular Sunday 8:AM Mass goers. Daisy Barade delos Reyes was formerly the PPC President, Romy Reyes and his Leah were my personal friends. I’m still waiting for the final list of victims. They bravely stayed in Jolo in spite of the threats and insecurities. I believe they have died for their Christian faith. No words can describe the sorrow and pain that we feel these days. May they be given justice in God’s time. I know that the friends of the victims (both Muslims and Christians) are mourning and in deep sorrow today. Pray also pray for the families of our young soldiers who died while securing the Cathedral. Bishop Ben please intercede for us. Our Lady of Mount Carmel please protect us from all evil.”
Statement of the OMI Province of the Philippines on the Jolo Cathedral Bombing