PGMA, Palace condemn Cotabato bombing

July 5, 2009 10:30 pm 

MANILA, July 5 – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Malacañang on Sunday strongly condemned the bomb attack outside a Catholic church packed with churchgoers in Cotabato City this morning.

"In behalf of the President, we strongly condemn this most recent act of terrorism victimizing innocent civilians,” said Secretary Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser For Mindanao, in an email to Malacañang reporters this afternoon.

”This murderous act of insanity although inflicting injury and misery on hapless civilians cannot and will not succeed in instilling fear and weaken the peace-loving populace,” Dureza said.

”On the contrary, this incident will all the more strengthen the affected community’s resolve to contend with and overcome the evil designs of those behind this cowardly act of treachery and violence,” Dureza said.

“We call on peace-loving citizens to unite and help rid our society of this menace. Government security forces will track down those responsible for the bombing. In the meantime, the victims need immediate assistance. President Arroyo has directed us to attend to this with dispatch,” Dureza said.

Reports reaching Malacañang said five people were killed and at least 40 others were wounded when an improvised explosive device went off at about 8:40 a.m. Sunday at LC Lechon Haus in front of the Immaculate Conception cathedral along Quezon Avenue corner Makakua Street in Cotabato City.

Authorities said the explosion killed on the spot Ruby Ramirez, lechon attendant and owner of the LC Lechon Haus. Four other victims – including a soldier, three-year-old boy and mentally-ill man – died in a nearby hospital.

Regional military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Ponce blamed the attack to rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The device was detonated when an army truck was passing, he added.

Cotabato City is the regional center of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.(PNA)

RMA/JCA

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