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.
Fr. Charlie M. Inzon, OMI,
OMI Province of the Philippines