Philippines vows to bring cathedral bombers to justice

This handout photo released by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Public Information Office (PIO) Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCON) taken on January 27, 2019, shows debris inside a Catholic Church where two bombs exploded in Jolo, Sulu province on the southern island of Mindanao. (AFP)
Updated 28 January 2019

Philippines vows to bring cathedral bombers to justice

  • The president flew to the southern Philippine island of Sulu on Monday to assess the situation
  • Duterte on Monday ordered the military to destroy the Daesh-linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)

MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday ordered the military to destroy the Daesh-linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) after Philippine authorities named it the primary suspect in the double bombing of a cathedral in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday that left 20 dead and more than 100 injured.
The president, accompanied by his top security officials, including Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, flew to the southern Philippine island of Sulu on Monday to assess the situation at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman-Catholic Cathedral.
Lorenzana said that six suspects have been named in connection with the cathedral attack after footage was recovered showing the men acting suspiciously outside the church after the first explosion.
Following the attack, Jolo has been placed on lockdown as security forces scrambled to restore normalcy while they hunt down the perpetrators.
Security had also been tightened across the entire of Sulu, as well as in the cities of Isabela and Lamitan in Basilan province. Sulu and Basilan are known strongholds of ASG, which has pledged allegiance to Daesh.
The Philippine government has assured the international community that those behind the attack would be brought to justice following strong condemnations of the bombings.
Salvador Panelo, a spokesman for President Duterte, said he has directed the AFP to undertake measures to prevent similar incidents from happening.
Duterte’s spokesman said that the latest violence is all the more reason for Mindanao island to be under martial law despite critics saying that the bombings are indicative of the fact that it is ineffective.
“If you can do that under a martial law regime, then all the more reason you should maintain it and be more strict in the implementation of security measures in that area,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) vowed that those responsible for this attack would not go unpunished.
“We grieve over the unnecessary loss of so many lives in this act of violence, which can only be perpetrated by the forces of evil. Those responsible for this crime will not go unpunished. We will find them and bring them to justice,” the DFA said.
“We are thankful for the many expressions of sympathy and solidarity from the international community. This terrorist act comes at a sensitive and yet hopeful period following the ratification by an overwhelming majority of the Bangsamoro Organic Law that seeks to bring peace and progress to Mindanao.”
The Kingdom, the US, Russia, Canada, Jordan and Japan all condemned the attack.
“A crime committed against civilians who gathered for a church service is shocking,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin in a telegram published by the Kremlin.
Sung Kim, US ambassador to the Philippines, expressed his “deepest sympathies for the tragic loss of life in Jolo.”
“We condemn this senseless violence and we will do everything possible to support the AFP,” he said.
The military said the Daesh claim to the attack remains “a form of propaganda at this time,” noting that “they have had false claims in the past.”


Boeing finds a new issue with 737 MAX aircraft

Updated 20 min 12 sec ago

Boeing finds a new issue with 737 MAX aircraft

  • The fuel tank debris was discovered during maintenance on parked planes
  • Boeing built about 400 undelivered MAX jets before it temporarily halted production last month

Boeing said Tuesday that it found debris contaminating the fuel tanks of some 737 MAX jets that it built in the past year but was unable to deliver to airline customers.
A Boeing official said the debris was discovered in “several” planes but did not give a precise number. Boeing built about 400 undelivered MAX jets before it temporarily halted production last month.
The fuel tank debris was discovered during maintenance on parked planes, and Boeing said it immediately made corrections in its production system to prevent a recurrence. Those steps include more inspections before fuel tanks are sealed.
A Boeing spokesman said that the issue would not change the company’s belief that the Federal Aviation Administration will certify the plane to fly again this summer.
An FAA spokesman said the agency knows that Boeing is conducting a voluntary inspection of undelivered MAX planes.
The FAA “increased its surveillance based on initial inspection reports and will take further action based on the findings,” said spokesman Lynn Lunsford.
Metal shavings, tools and other objects left in planes during assembly can raise the risk of electrical short-circuiting and fires.
Mark Jenks, Boeing’s general manager of the 737 program, said in a memo to employees who work on the 737, “During these challenging times, our customers and the flying public are counting on us to do our best work each and every day.”
Jenks called the debris “absolutely unacceptable. One escape is one too many.”
The debris issue was first reported by aviation news site Leehamnews.com.
MAX jets were grounded around the world last March after two crashes killed 346 people. Boeing is conducting test flights to assess updates to a flight-control system that activated before the crashes on faulty signals from sensors outside the plane, pushing the noses of the aircraft down and triggering spirals that pilots were unable to stop.
While investigators examining the MAX accidents have not pointed to production problems at the assembly plant near Seattle, Boeing has faced concerns about debris left in other finished planes including the 787 Dreamliner, which is built in South Carolina.