PH military advises public to remain vigilant, vows justice for Jolo blast victims

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 26 2020 02:57 PM

Military personnel and civilians (L) stretcher away a soldier after an improvised bomb exploded next to a military vehicle in the town of Jolo on Sulu island on August 24, 2020.  Nickee Butlangan, AFP

MANILA - The Philippine military on Wednesday advised the public to be calm and remain vigilant as it vowed to exact justice on perpetrators of the twin blasts in Jolo town, Sulu that left at least 15 dead.

Soldiers will remain on high alert following the death of 8 of their comrades, according to Armed Forces chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay.

"No sensible religion or ideology would ever endorse these hapless attacks," Gapay said of Monday's bombings.

"We extend our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims. Rest assured that their sacrifices will not be in vain," he added.

In asking the public to remain calm and vigilant after the incident, the military chief advised them as well to "do their share in keeping their communities safe by cooperating with government authorities." 

The Abu Sayyaf, the prime suspect behind the explosions, will "not deter us from, nor shake our resolve to bring an end to their violence," Gapay said of the terror group responsible for numerous atrocities, including kidnappings and beheadings.

The Philippine Army earlier identified the incident's two bombers as the widow of the first Filipino suicide bomber Norman Lasuca, and the wife of a subleader of an Abu Sayyaf unit.

The 2 women were the targets of 4 soldiers before they were killed by policemen in Sulu in June, Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana earlier said.

President Rodrigo Duterte will consider the military and police's recommendation to declare martial law in the province after the blasts, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Aside from 8 soldiers, the fatalities from Monday's explosions include one policeman and six civilians, according to the military.

There were also 20 soldiers, six policemen and 48 civilians who were injured.