Clergy urge local govt to end violence in Basilan province

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MANILA, August 16, 2012?The local church in Basilan province has condemned the series of violence that rocked the volatile territory in recent days even as it called on government to end hostility in troubled communities.

In a pastoral statement, Bishop Martin Jumoad of the Prelature of Isabela together with his clergy expressed alarm and sadness on the series of “disturbing and violent incidents” that shook the province which resulted in the killing of innocent civilians and the destruction of government and private properties.

The clergy said while they appreciate the presence of men and women in uniform “for exerting their responsibilities and efforts to secure the peace and order in the Province of Basilan,” they nonetheless appealed to local authorities to act and resolve the series of violent incidents.

On August 13, a bomb exploded at Twin’s Restaurant at Isabela City. Also on the same day, a Police officer, PO2 Arnel Galano was murdered at Barangay Sta. Cruz, Isabela City.

On August 12, a teenager was murdered at Bgy. Cabunbata, Isabela City, while earlier on August 5, witnesses cited the presence of armed men riding in tandem responsible for the killing of a teenager in Lamitan City.

The clergy also mentioned the grenade explosions that happened in Isabela City last August 2, and at Castillo residence last 20th of July.

Last July 11, plantation cooperative workers of Tumahubong in Sumisip town were ambushed and killed.

While appealing to the local authorities and law enforcements, the clergy also called on the faithful “to take pro-active measures to prevent any further untoward and tragic incidents.”

“The peace-loving people of Basilan are anxious, restless and seemingly hopeless as to the occurrence of the abovementioned incidents,” they further added.

They also urged the people to “stay vigilant and take active participation in upholding peace and order.”

The clergy also appealed to the perpetrators to stop the evil deeds and respect the sacredness of life and “adhere to God’s call of peace.”

Jumoad and the clergy gathered at Claret College on August 14 for their monthly meeting and reflection on the series of extremely violent incidents happening in the province.  (Melo M. Acuna)

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