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Press Release - Manifestation of Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva on the bombing at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City

Mr. President, with a heavy heart, this representation would like to extend our sincerest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones and stand in solidarity with the survivors, who were all victims of the explosion during the celebration of the Catholic Mass at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

This representation strongly condemns the heinous act of violence against innocent individuals who were gathered to celebrate their faith in the most solemn way. This demonic attack is not just an assault on a particular group; it is an attack on every individual's right and fundamental freedom. We denounce this senseless act that aims to divide our nation and assaults our shared values of harmony, peace, and coexistence.

Mr. President, we have always been an advocate of religious freedom. In fact, during the deliberation of now Republic Act No. 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, we pushed for the inclusion of a provision that will guarantee religious freedom and the free exercise thereof in the Bangsamoro territory. This is to ensure that all people in the Bangsamoro Region are protected from harassment or any undue pressure, coercion, and violence on account of religion.

Thus, it is really unfortunate that this tragic incident happened. We call on all our law enforcement agencies to exert their best efforts in finding the perpetrators and deliver justice for all.