Labor groups: condemns Jolo bombing; welcomes BOL ratification!

MANILA, Philippines — “The 200,000-strong members of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) strongly condemns with no uncertain term the bombings of the Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo which killed 27 persons and wounded several others. These bombings and killings were acts of, neither Muslims nor Christians but, terrorists and barbarians. The Philippine authorities need to pursue the perpetrators and arrest them to face accountability in the bar of justice!”

This is the statement of Attorney Sonny Matula, President of FFW and Chairman of a labor coalition NAGKAISA (UNITED).

The incident took place Sunday (January 27, 2019 ) morning while many are attending the mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu,  just days after the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) was ratified.

In a report released by Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) police Chief Superintendent Graciano Mijares said the death toll already climbed to 27.


  • 14 civilians
  • 5 from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
  • 1 from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)


  • 90 civilians
  • 17 from the AFP
  • 2 from the PCG
  • 2 from the Philippine National Police (PNP)

source: ARMM P/C Supt Graciano Mijares

Witnesses account said when the first blast occurred inside the Jolo cathedral, churchgoers immediately rushed to the main entrance when the second bomb went off. Rushing army troops posted outside are among the casualties aside from the civilians. The military is still on the process of verifying if the second explosive device may have been attached to a parked motorcycle.

“We can’t have lasting peace in the country through the barrel of the gun,” Matula explained.

He (Matula) urges the current administration to pursue and continue the peace negotiation with other groups to avoid and eliminate loss of lives especially of the civilians who are among the most vulnerable casualties of war. FFW has a lot of members in Mindanao.

“The FFW urges the government to reopen the peace process with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). We have a fratricidal war for more than 50 years, our people are already sick and tired of soldiers and rebels killing each other making thousands of civilians as collateral damage in Mindanao and other parts of the country,” Matula said.

The labor leader who is also running for public office in the coming 2019 mid-term national election as a senator also encourage the administration to create a different program that will elevate the living conditions of the Filipino people especially in the rural area of the country.

“The FFW likewise urges the Duterte administration to highlight agricultural modernization and national industrialization to promote decent work as one of the foundations of the peace process in Mindanao,” said Matula.

Meanwhile, the FFW also welcomes the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

“With the adoption of the BOL and the transition under the MILF leadership as well as the decommissioning of its armed group we can now move forward in a faster phase in national development and lasting peace in the southern Philippines,” Matula stated.

On several occasions, the FFW declared its support for the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the approval of the BOL, which hopes to put an end to the five-decades-old war in Muslim Mindanao. CPM

For more details contact:

Atty. Sonny Matula President

Federation of Free Workers


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