CAGAYAN DEO ORO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Aug. 29, 2010) – A Philippine cleric has appealed to Catholic faithful to stay calm following a grenade attack on a church on Sunday in the restive region of Mindanao.
That attack on San Vicente Ferrer parish in the town of Kalilangan in Bukidnon province left at least 3 people wounded. Bishop Jose Araneta Cabantan of the Diocese of Malaybalay in Bukidnon also called on the faithful pray in the aftermath of the attack.
He appealed to relatives of those wounded in the attack to let law enforcement authorities solve the case and not take justice into their own hands to prevent bloodshed.
“I urged, all the faithful in Bukidnon, especially in Kalilangan, to pray and remain calm and not let this isolated incident sow tension and discord among the Christians and Muslims here,” he told the Mindanao Examiner.
The San Vicente Ferrer parish has more than 20,000 parishioners in Kalilangan, one of the more progressive towns of Bukidnon, which lies near the boundary of Lanao del Sur.
The attack on the San Vicente Ferrer church was carried out by two teenage boys riding in tandem on a motorcycle while parish priest, Father Art Paraiso, was saying mass.
The motive of the attack is still unknown, but there were reports that it could be connected to the killing of a Muslim boy who was ran over by a commuter bus owned by Rural Transit of Mindanao in the province.
Relatives of the boy were allegedly behind the recent attacks on two Rural Transit buses in Wao and Kapatagan towns in Lanao del Norte province that left at least four people dead.
The attackers, disguised as policemen, told the passengers they were only after the bus driver and his conductor, but two passengers, who turned out to be policemen, were also shot dead after they introduced themselves as officers. (Bong Fabe)