Karapatan on the recent bombing incidents in Jolo, Sulu

Karapatan deplores the bombing at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Jolo, Sulu that has resulted to the killing of at least 27 persons and injury of 80. 

We express our deep sympathies to the victims, their families and to the people of Sulu in these difficult times as we are one with them and many sectors in society in calling for justice. We condemn the said bombing as a dire violation of international humanitarian law, which specifies protection for civilians and places of worship from such attacks. We likewise demand an immediate and impartial investigation on the incident, beyond the groundless accusations of political vultures eyeing this tragedy for political gain and mileage. 

This horrible incident, however, should not be used to justify and further the impacts of martial law and Oplan Kapayapaan in Sulu and the whole of Mindanao. We caution politicians and the AFP to refrain from making mindless accusations, so as to serve their own agenda of peddling more militarist policies as these would possibly aggravate the situation and result to endangering more civilian communities. We are also mindful that this tragic incident may be used as pretext to railroad the insidious and pernicious amendments to the Human Security Act of 2007 or the Anti-Terror Law, which will put increasingly jeopardize the Filipino people's civil and political rights. The timing of the said incident is suspect, just when both the House of Representatives and the Senate are deliberating the proposed amendments. Is this incident meant to create the political justification for increased iron-fisted rule? Only the perpetrators and masterminds can know. 

As it is, the people in Mindanao continue to face unabated killings, arrests and forces evacuation amid military operations, while the people of Marawi have yet to recover and attain justice for their displacement and the violations they have endured. The parading of more militarist solutions will no doubt create a fertile environment that will make civilian communities more vulnerable to such attacks and atrocities.

Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, +639173162831 

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580