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CHR denounces Marawi blast as an assault on peace, humanity

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights condemned Tuesday the bombing of a Sunday Mass at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City, calling the act of violence an “affront” to the values of peace and humanity. 

The CHR condemned the perpetrators of the bombing that killed four Catholic worshippers and wounded dozens for blatantly dismissing their shared responsibility to uphold human dignity and respect the call to defend human rights. 

“Not only do these incidents result in immediate pain and suffering, but also have a lasting impact on communities, depriving victims of their education opportunities and creating a climate of fear among students, faculties, and families,” the commission said. 

It added that “violence perpetrated in the pursuit of religious beliefs is not only a violation of the principle of coexistence but also a stain on the reputation of faith communities around the world.” 

In a statement Monday, the United Imams of the Philippines called the bombing attack a violation of “all human and Islamic norms” and said the violence against innocent individuals “constitutes a form of injustice that cannot be tolerated by Islam.”

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said such violence “should not only be denounced… [but] also be renounced.” The attack happened on the first Sunday of Advent and during the Mindanao Week of Peace. 

The CHR expressed hope that the incident will not hinder the collective effort toward a just and lasting peace across the country.

MSU System President Basari Mapupuno conveyed the university’s “deepest and sincerest” condolences to the loved ones of the individuals killed in the blast. They were identified as Junrey Barbante, Janine Arenas, Evangeline Aromin, and Riza Daniel. 

“Along with you, we pray that your departed loved ones rest in peace and be given the justice they so deserve. We join you in your pain, and to be honest, a part of us, of every MSUan died along with them,” Mapupuno said. 

“What happened is not only an attack on our Christian brothers and sisters, it is an attack on all who work, study, and live in this campus,” he said.