The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has condemned in the strongest possible terms the armed attack that killed nine people and wounded scores of others in Kabacan, North Cotabato on August 29.
“This barbaric attack shows the great lengths these lawless elements will go through to sow fear, anger and discord among the people. We believe that no person in the right frame of mind would carry out such a crime against humanity, more so, to take away precious, innocent lives,” Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. said in a statement yesterday.
Galvez said the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group are now closely coordinating with authorities who are conducting an investigation on the incident.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims. May you have the strength and courage to cope with this painful loss.
Our agency stands behind all of you during this most difficult time, and shall provide you the assistance you will need to recover from your loss,” Galvez said.
Despite the emotional trauma brought by the tragedy, Galvez called for sobriety and restraint, saying the government will leave no stone unturned “to bring the perpetrators of these dastardly acts to justice”.
“During these difficult and uncertain times, we urge everyone to hold their judgment and allow the inquiry to take its due course.
We believe in the integrity of the institutions which are carrying out the investigation. We are confident they shall be able to ferret out the truth.”
He said administration of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao leadership are doing its best to sustain the gains of peace in the region, and create a brighter future for Moro people.
“As we mourn the loss of those who have perished, let us unite and work hand in hand so that we can help prevent such incidents from happening, and continue promoting the culture of peace, mutual understanding and solidarity across our nation,” he said.
The Government Peace Implementing Panel for the Philippine Government-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (GPH-MILF) Peace Accord also denounced the shooting incident.
“The GPH Panel stands that such outright disregard of the rule of law is unacceptable in a democratic society that puts premium to human rights and peace and order.
Such violence weakens human security especially during these trying times as we grapple with the effects of the health crisis,” said GPH Implementing Panel chair Undersecretary David Diciano in a separate statement.
He said the GPH Panel is one with the Bangsamoro government, Moro people, and local governments of Kabacan and North Cotabato on voicing “our shared aim to exact due justice to this kind of violence which is an example of sheer disrespect of life and law and order”.
Police Lt. Ernie John Saratao, Kabacan deputy police chief for operations, said the victims were resting beside the highway when gunmen on separate motorbikes arrived and opened fire on them.
Witnesses said one of the victims managed to return fire but was overpowered. The armed attack may have been triggered by a “rido” or blood feud.*PNA
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