House urged to probe MSU’s security protocol after bomb attack
MANILA, Philippines — House committees must conduct a probe on the bomb attack at the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City, as well as the university’s security protocols, Lanao del Sur 1st District Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong said on Monday.
In a speech made during the plenary session, Adiong said that the bombing at the gymnasium where a Catholic Mass was being held does not only affect the institution but also the co-existence of Christians and Muslims inside the campus.
Hence, Adiong said the House must do everything that it can to ensure that the Muslim-Christian relationship is preserved, as it is a “commitment to understanding, respect, and appreciation for the unique cultural and religious backgrounds that shape the identity of our fellow citizens.”
“In the face of this tragedy, Mr. Speaker, we must reaffirm our dedication to fostering an atmosphere of peace, acceptance, and cooperation within the hallowed halls of [MSU]. It is for all these reasons, Mr. Speaker, that I call the House leadership, through the Committee on National Defense and the Committee on Higher and Technical Education, to leverage all the powers of the House of the People to address this grave and perennial problem,” he said.
“[MSU] is a chartered institution that offers distinct challenges and opportunities; let us hurdle every challenge and explore every opportunity, Mr. Speaker. I urge the House to review the MSU’s charter, current security plans and policies, and all the relevant laws affecting the peace and order situation of MSU Marawi City,” he added.
Adiong said that it is important for the House to understand the magnitude of the situation in relation to the sheer size of the campus. He added that the House can help MSU by improving the university’s “capability to prevent such tragedies from ever occurring again.”
“MSU, like the University of the Philippines, is a chartered university system with 11 constituent units found across Mindanao. The main campus in Marawi City sits on 1,000 hectares, which includes four different barangays,” he noted.
“To provide for its security needs, there are different outfits inside the campus, namely: the MSU Department of Security Services, PNP Revitalized Police sa Barangay, and some members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The sheer size of the campus provides a logistical nightmare for any security force,” he added.
According to reports, four individuals have died while at least 50 were injured after a bomb exploded during the religious event at the MSU Marawi City campus.
Several top government officials including President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. have condemned the incident, with the Chief Executive vowing to bring the perpetrators to justice.
As of now, Islamic State (IS) militants have claimed responsibility for the bombing in Marawi — the same city sieged by IS sympathizers from the Maute group.