Bangsamoro Transition Commission employee among casualties in Cotabato blast
MANILA, Philippines — One of the two civilians killed in the New Year’s Eve explosion in Cotabato City was an employee of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), which authored the law meant to end decades of unrest and violence in Mindanao.
The blast left two civilians dead and at least 34 others injured as it ripped through stalls in front of the South Seas Mall on Monday afternoon.
In a statement on Tuesday, BTC officials said Jonathan Torribiano was one of the fatalities of the “evil act.” The BTC said Torribiano is a “hardworking, humble and peace-loving staff member” of Commissioner Melanio Ulama, who represents the indigenous people in the commission.
“Unfortunately, one of our employees by the name of Jonathan Torribiano died because of the bombing. He was hardworking, humble, and the peace-loving staff member of the Commissioner Melanio Ulama who represents the indigenous people in the BTC that drafted the Bangsamoro Organic Law (RA 11054),” the BTC said.
“It is really sad that someone who worked for an office that seeks peace in the Bangsamoro would become a victim of senseless violence,” it added.
The commission also extended its sympathies to the families of the other victims, adding that “only someone who really oppose peace can perpetuate such a terroristic, immoral and cowardly action.”
The BTC, which is composed of representatives from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and from the government, has called on authorities for a swift investigation to hold the perpetrators of the attack accountable.
“We demand justice for the victims of this dastardly act. An investigation must be immediately conducted by the local law enforcement agencies,” the BTC said.
“We also appeal to the Office of the President to direct national law enforcement agencies to assist in pinpointing immediately the real perpetrators of the bombing and bringing them to the bar of justice. We call on everyone to remain calm. Let us all pray for the victims and their families. Let us all pray that peace, truth and justice will reign in our homeland,’ it added.
The attack came weeks before the plebiscite for the BOL.
Once ratified, the law will pave the way for ARMM’s replacement with an MILF-led Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The Commission on Elections will administer the plebiscite on Jan. 21 in all ARMM provinces and in some parts of Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato and in the cities of Cotabato and Isabela in Basilan. /ee
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.