DAVAO CITY — Human rights group Amnesty International and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Saturday, September 3, urged President Rodrigo Duterte to respond to the deadly Davao blast “with peace and not with more violations of human rights.”
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the Catholic Church is grieving over the death of 14 people and the wounding of 67 others after Friday’s blast in Davao around 10:00 pm at the Roxas Avenue here.
“We are in prayerful communion with the Archbishop of Davao and our countrymen in that city. We grieve, too, over the death of innocent brothers and sisters due to the bombing. Violence shocks us. Acts of terrorism jolt us. When fellowmen die, a part of our humanity dies too,” Villegas said in a statement.
While he offered prayers for the victims of the explosion, the Catholic prelate has expressed hope that people won’t seek vengeance.
“We pray for peace for the dead victims. We pray for healing for the wounded. We pray for strength for the bereaved families. We pray for the restoration of brotherhood and harmony for Davao and for the nation,” Villegas said.
“Let not vengeance be our response but peace. Christ our peace, restore our peace,” he added.
On the other hand, Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s senior research adviser for South East Asia and the Pacific, called on the government to perform its duties to seek justice without violating the human rights of the perpetrators.
“The government should respect this right by ordering an independent, impartial, transparent and effective investigation, leading to fair trials of suspected perpetrators,” Patel said in a statement on Saturday, September 3.
“However, the callous disregard shown by the attackers for people’s right to life must not be met by government action that itself disregards human rights,” the group said.
Amnesty International said that “resort to unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests or other human rights violations will only play into the hands of those who seek an ever-widening cycle of violence and abuse.”
After the incident, President Rodrigo Duterte, who visited the blast site early morning Saturday declared a state of lawless violence in the country.(davaotoday.com)