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CHED urges campuses to tighten security after Marawi bombing

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Higher Education has asked all higher education institutions (HEIs) to review their safety and security measures following the bombing incident that ripped through the gymnasium of the Mindanao State University during a Catholic mass on Sunday.

Condemning the deadly attack, CHED Chairperson Popoy de Vera said in a statement Sunday night that he has ordered a review of MSU’s security protocols as the chairperson of the university’s Board of Regents, its highest decision-making body.

“As CHED Chairman, I urge the board of other HEIs to do the same,” De Vera said.

“Violence has no place in a civilized society, particularly in an institution of higher learning," the CHED chairperson added.

At least four people were killed and dozens more were wounded in the explosion in Marawi City on Sunday, which President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said was an act done by "foreign terrorists."

Islamic State or ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Meanwhile, local police have identified an undisclosed number of persons of interest based on their ongoing investigation, one of which has "pointed on (the) local terrorists," according to the Bangsamoro Police Regional Office’s BGen. Allan Nobleza in an interview with GMA’s Unang Balita on Monday.

MSU immediately suspended classes due to the incident but clarified on Sunday afternoon that there is no recommendation to place the campus on lockdown or order the evacuation of students.

Muslim religious leaders and Catholic bishops have condemned the attack, stressing in separate statements that both of their religions forbid acts of violence against civilians.

RELATED: Imams, Catholic bishops condemn deadly Sunday mass bombing 

BARMM chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim has also called the incident an "atrocious and cowardly" act. 

The Muslim-majority MSU has “always welcomed people of different faiths,” Ebrahim added.

In a statement on Monday, University of the Philippines President Angelo Jimenez expressed solidarity with MSU in condemning the incident.

Jimenez said that the attack on civilians within MSU's campus is a violation of the "principles of peace, understanding and unity that should be