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Terror hits Davao City

DAVAO (SE): A bomb blast ripped through the Roxas Night Market in Davao City on September 2 leaving 14 people dead, including a pregnant woman and her child, and 68 others injured in its wake.

Filipinos from Davao living in Hong Kong reported a sleepless night, with some unable to contact family and being left wondering overnight if they were safe or not. One described it as being a city of fear, as staying home or going out seem to be equally dangerous.

On the following Saturday and Sunday CBCP News reported large crowds attending Masses, offering flowers and lighting candles for the dead.

At a Mass celebrated in the local cathedral, Archbishop Romulo Valles called the act barbaric and inhuman, as pure and innocent lives were lost. “We can and we must be strong. There are many faiths in Davao. We bring ourselves to the Lord,” he said.

The archbishop of Davao added that when our neighbours die, a part of ourselves dies as well.

 “We pray for the eternal repose of those who died. We pray for those suffering and for the city government,” Archbishop Valles said at a Mass for the dead and injured, as well as for the safety of the city, in the cathedral.

The president of the bishops’ conference, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, said, “We grieve too over the death of innocent brothers and sisters due to the bombing. We pray for peace for the dead victims. We pray for healing for the wounded. We pray for strength for the bereaved families.”

It was reported that the terrorist group, the Abu Sayyaf, claimed responsibility for the attack saying it was revenge for losses in Jolo during an attack by government forces.

It claimed it reacted in the name of the Islamic State, which prompted the president, Rodrigo Duterte, to say on September 3 that he would declare a state of lawlessness before he left The Philippines on a visit to Laos on September 5.

A state of lawlessness is not martial law, but simply putting the military on alert to assist in normal police action. The justice secretary, Vitaliano Aguirre, stressed that the military may only assist police in the normal exercise of their duties.

A Supreme Court case in 2006 found that arrest without a warrant was unlawful during a declared state of emergency after a foiled coup d’état.

A state of lawlessness is described as being the most benign of the president’s emergency powers. But this is the first time that it has been declared across the whole territory of The Philippines.

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