At least 20 people were killed as explosions rocked the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu, on Sunday, January 27, just days after the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) was ratified.
This revised death toll, sent to reporters around 7 pm on Sunday, comes hours after Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) police Chief Superintendent Graciano Mijares earlier reported a death toll of 27.
The ARMM regional police said casualties “were immediately evacuated” as the AFP and the PNP secured the area.
The PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) earlier said two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were used to bomb the cathedral.
According to the ARMM regional police, one IED exploded inside the cathedral, and another at the entrance.
PNP spokesperson Senior Superintendent Bernard Banac said that the second explosion occurred as AFP personnel responded to the first explosion.
Arnel dela Vega, chief of the Philippine military’s Western Mindanao Command, said the primary suspect behind the bombing is still the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group. He said that this is based on previous threats, but is subject to “further assessment and validation.”