December 4, 2023
MANILA, Philippines – Several groups on Sunday urged Filipinos not to hastily draw conclusions on the bombing attack that killed four and injured 50 at the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City.
The Council for Climate and Conflict Action in Asia pointed out that it is “too early to draw conclusions or point fingers towards any individual or group.”
“We also call for calm and reflection amidst attempts to polarize the situation and sow the seeds of a Muslim-Christian conflict,” the group said in a statement.
The bombing incident occurred at the university’s gymnasium during a Catholic mass, resulting in fatalities and injuries, mostly among Catholic students.
The attack also coincided with this year’s Mindanao Week of Peace.
This sparked outrage among netizens, leading some to theorize that the attack was intended to “send a message” to the government.
However, government officials from the country’s defense cluster dismissed this claim during an earlier press briefing, stating that investigations into the perpetrators’ motives are still ongoing.
The League of Filipino Students (LSF) likewise called on the public to refrain from making statements insinuating that the bombing incident is related to religious extremism or the entry of foreign terrorists into the country.
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., in a statement, said that the attack was perpetrated by “foreign terrorists” but did not elaborate on the matter.
Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro also alluded to the possible existence of “foreign elements” in the attack but refused to elaborate further so as to not compromise the ongoing investigation.
“Mahalaga ang sapat na imbestigasyon para matunton ang motibo ng pambobomba at mapanagot ang mga may sala,” LSF’s statement said.
(A thorough investigation is important to trace the motive behind the bombing and hold those responsible accountable.)
Meanwhile, Kabataan Partylist said that while they extend their condolences to the victims’ families, the bombing attack at MSU must not be used as a pretext for the government to completely militarize Marawi and displace residents from their homes.
“Dapat bigyan ng nararapat na proteksyon at seguridad ang mamamayan mula sa panibagong mga banta o atake. Ngunit hindi dapat gamitin ang insidenteng ito para bigyang-daan ang todong militarisasyon o lantarang batas militar sa Marawi o sa Mindanao,” they said in a statement.
(The citizens should be given proper protection and security against new threats or attacks. However, this incident should not be used as a reason to allow extensive militarization or outright martial law in Marawi or Mindanao.)
“Ensuring peace does not involve reducing Marawi City to rubble again. Let’s not allow the situation to result in the displacement of our fellow brothers and sisters from their ancestral land,” the group added.