Palace condemns New Zealand attacks

Published March 16, 2019, 9:45 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

The Philippines is standing by New Zealand, which is grieving the mass shooting in Christchurch which killed at least 49 people Friday.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after it was reported that 49 persons were killed, while scores were seriously injured in the terrorist attacks carried out in mosques in Christchurch.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the carnage as one of the country’s “darkest days”.

“The Philippines joins all peace-loving nations and peoples around the world in condemning – in the strongest and in no uncertain terms – this assault on the faithful in places of worship,” Panelo said in his statement Saturday pre-dawn.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in this tragic incident, and we pray for strength and speedy recovery of those who were injured,” he added.

According to the Palace official, there should be a united stand against those who want to reap sow fear and terror among peace-loving citizens.

“This reprehensible act has no place in a civilized world. The Philippines rebukes all efforts to sow terror and fear between and among peoples,” Panelo said.

“There has to be a universal unified action as well as a conscious and determined effort to neutralize and demolish any attempt at destabilizing the order in societies and the tranquility of their citizens and secure the safety of lives and properties of the inhabitants of the globe,” he added.

“We cannot allow ourselves to be held hostage by fear and intimidation sown by terrorists and psychologically challenged persons and live in an endangered environment,” he continued.

“With unity in action against the enemies of the states, we shall prevail,” he said.

Meanwhile, Panelo noted that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has been instructed to monitor closely the situation and determine the condition of Filipino nationals in the area.

Three people were arrested in connection with the shootings. Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, appeared in Court Saturday after he was charged with one count of murder.

Two others were arrested on suspicion of possession of firearms. Police were investigating their ties to the attacks which were even streamed live on the Internet,

The gunman arrived at Al Noor mosque in the afternoon, opening fire on about 400 people. He killed 41 people before driving four miles to the Linwood Islamic Centre, where another seven people were shot dead. One of the 48 people injured in the attacks died later in the hospital.

A bomb disposal team was called in to dismantle explosive devices found in a stopped car.

Read more: 40 dead, 20 hurt in New Zealand mosque shootings