Commission on Human Rights calls for accountability in wake of bombing at Catholic chapel in Cotabato

CHR Condemns Grenade Attack During Catholic Mass in Cotabato City
The recent grenade attack during a Catholic Mass in Cotabato City has been denounced by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). The attack, which injured two civilians, was carried out by two suspects aboard a motorcycle who threw a grenade into the entrance of Sto. Niño Chapel. Among the injured were Marybel Atis and Rosita Tubilo, who were promptly treated by responders.

This incident marks the second time in a few months that bombings have targeted places of worship in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), according to the commission’s statement on Saturday. The CHR expressed its disapproval of all acts of violence, particularly those directed at groups with specific religious beliefs, emphasizing that such actions hinder the progress made in promoting religious freedom across the country.

The explosion caused panic among the mixed Muslim and Christian residents of the neighborhood. Notably, a Catholic mass at Mindanao State University was bombed in December 2023 by alleged elements of Dawlah Islamiya.

Regional groups and BARMM officials have condemned the recent bombing, with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) executive council describing it as a “satanic act” and urging witnesses to come forward to help identify the suspects. Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity (OPAPRU) Carlito Galvez Jr. offered condolences to the families of the injured, labeling the blast as an attack on religious freedom.

The CHR echoed the sentiment that people of faith should be able to freely practice their beliefs, in line with domestic policies and international human rights standards. The commission expressed solidarity with the government’s efforts to address the matter and commended the Cotabato City Police for investigating the incident to ensure the perpetrators are held accountable.

A peaceful environment is deemed essential for Filipinos to thrive and exercise their religious freedom without fear. Upholding safety and protection for all citizens is crucial in fostering a harmonious society where everyone feels secure.

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