Prelate says Cotabato slowly recovering from trauma

(Update on bombing on Immaculate Conception Cathedral, a repost fromCBCPNews)

MANILA, July 8, 2009—Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin M. Bagaforo said city residents are slowly recovering from the traumatic experience they had last Sunday when an improvised explosive device brought death to five persons and multiple injuries to some 35 others.

Speaking at the CBCP Media Office-Catholic Media Network sponsored Public Affairs program “The Forum,” the prelate said the authorities have arrested several suspects but later released when witnesses identified them as those responsible for the bombing.

“The authorities now believe the real target was the cathedral,” the prelate said. He added they have already coordinated with the police and the military to protect the cathedral and its perimeter.

>He admitted there was a significant reduction in churchgoers in their 11:30 A.M., 4:00, 5:00 and 6:00 P.M. Masses last Sunday.

“The people were afraid and it will take some days before they recover from the traumatic experience they had,” he said.

>He repeated his call for sobriety as he began to receive “feelers” from what he described as Christian armed groups who were seriously considering retaliation.

“I have not met any of them and all I got were feelers which may not have any basis at all,” he added. He said “there is a possibility such Christian armed groups exist.”

He said he would rather see the resumption of the peace talks between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine government rather than settling their differences in the battlefield. (Melo M. Acuna)