FORMER Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go condemned in the strongest terms the bombing of Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu.
“I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. Alam ninyo nasa loob pa naman ng simbahan yung nangyari, nagdarasal po yung mga kababayan natin,” Go said in a radio interview.
Go bared that President Rodrigo Duterte will go to Jolo to personally assess the situation and provide assistance to the victims and their families.
“Unang una po ay sinisigurado ng Pangulo na maasikaso lahat ng mga nasugatan at nga nasawi. Kaya po pupunta kaagad ang Pangulo—kasama po ako—sa Jolo ngayon kaagad at titingnan yung sitwasyon,” Go said.
He added that the President would likely provide assistance to the local government so it could attend to the needs of the victims.
“Most likely po. Kaya nga po pupunta kaagad ang Pangulo at tutulungan ang local government ng Jolo, lahat ng pangangailangan ng naging biktima. Handa pong tumulong ang Malacanang sa mga pangangailangan sa nangyaring pagsabog,” Go said.
Bong Go bared that he and those from the private sector will also provide assistance and support to the victims and the victims’ families.
He said the President’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, will accompany the Chief Executive on his visit to Jolo.
Go noted that despite fears the threat may not be over President Duterte wants to go to Jolo to ensure the situation would quickly go back to normal.
“Alam mo naman si Pangulo, as leader ng ating bansa ay talagang tinitiyak niya – kahit po sa Marawi — tinitingnan niya kaagad yung sitwasyon para mabalik kaagad sa normal,” Go added,
He noted that President Duterte usually takes time to visit soldiers or policemen wounded in encounters with lawless elements.
“So lalong lalo na po ito act of terrorism ito, kailangan natin ipakita sa tao talagang galit tayo sa ganitong pangyayari,” Go said.
What is even more unfortunate, according to Go, is that the bombing occurred a few days after the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law which would pave the way for the creation of a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and expected to result in lasting peace in the region.
“Alam nyo matagal na pong inaasam ni Pangulo na magkaroon tayo ng long lasting peace, ngayon po merong mga tao na gustong sumira at gustong sumabotahe sa inaasam nating kapayapaan,” Go said.
Go, who is a senatorial candidate in the 2019 elections, said that personally he would prefer the military and the police utilize to the full extent the legal powers given to them under the existing martial law in Mindanao to prevent similar deadly incidents in the future.
“Sa ganitong mga pangyayari dapat mas lalo pong hihigpitan at gawin na kung paano po gamitin ng legal itong martial law, dapat na pong i-apply sa Jolo,” Go said.
He noted that a security briefing would be held during the President’s visit to map out additional government response to the bombing.
Meanwhile, Go also aired his apology to the people of the province of Basilan, saying he would not be able to attend to the opening of their sports meet because of the Jolo incident.
“Dapat po pupunta rin ako sa Basilan ngayong umagang ito dahil meron pong opening ng ARRM regional meet, isang pagtitipon ng atleta doon. Hindi naman natin inaasahan na meron pong mangyayaring pagsabog sa Jolo kaya humihihingi lang po ako ng paumanhin sa mga taga-Basilan na hindi po ako makakadalo doon sa opening po ng inyong pagtitipon,” Go explained.
However, Go clarified that there is no security threat in Basilan but he would have to accompany President Duterte in going to Jolo and take the opportunity to also give his personal sympathies to the victims of the bombing and their families.
“Sasamahan ko ang Pangulo at gusto ko rin pong makiramay kaagad doon sa nangyari. Mahirap naman po na pupunta ka doon sa isang opening po ng kapitbahay lang po nila, kapit probinsya, tapos marami pong nagdadalamhati sa Jolo,” Go said.