The Philippine government has condemned the twin bombings in Indonesia’s business capital on Friday and voiced support for its Southeast Asian neighbor in bringing the perpetrators to justice.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo conveyed President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s condolences to the Indonesian people especially to the families of the nine killed in the bomb explosions at the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels located side-by-side in an upscale district in Jakarta. At least 50 more civilians were injured in the incident.
TWISTED METAL. Police forensic experts inspect the damage inside the Ritz-Carlton hotel after an explosion in Jakarta on Friday. AP“These dastardly and inhumane acts all the more reinforce the need for vigilance and greater and deeper cooperation regionally and globally, to counter, prevent and suppress all acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations," Romulo said.
Romulo did not issue any travel advisory for Filipinos going to Indonesia following the attacks.
Ambassador Vidal Querol told GMANews.TV that none of the fatalities in the incident were Filipinos. Querol said there were no Filipino-sounding names in the list of the casualties reported to him so far.
There are an estimated 12,000 Filipinos in the Indonesian archipelago, 7,000 of whom are working as managers, engineers, finance officers, auditors, teachers, and consultants in Jakarta.
The blasts at the two hotels in Jakarta blew out windows, scattered debris and glass across the street, and kicked up a thick plume of smoke. Facades of both hotels were reduced to twisted metal.
Alex Asmasubrata, who was jogging nearby, told the Associated Press that he walked into the Marriott before emergency services arrived and "there were bodies on the ground, one of them had no stomach," he said. "It was terrible."
The blast has largely been blamed on the Indonesia-based terror network Jemaah Islamiyah, which was also suspected to have a hand in the series of bombings across Southeast Asia, including the simultaneous explosions that killed 22 people and hurt at least 100 others in Metro Manila on Dec. 30, 2000.
The Jemaah Islamiyah is believed to have links with militants in the Philippines, notably the Abu Sayyaf and rogue members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
In Manila, the Philippine National Police announced that it had increased vigilance and adopted stricter security measures following the latest wave of bombings in Mindanao early this month. - Joseph Holandes Ubalde, GMANews.TV with AP