The Catholic bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo appealed for prayers as he condemned the twin explosions in the capital of the southern Philippine province of Sulu on August 24.
“We need prayers during this time,” said Bishop Charlie Inzon of Jolo.
He also appealed for prayers for the victims of the explosion that killed at least nine people. The bishop also implored the people of Jolo to remain calm and vigilant.
The explosions were the biggest attack in Jolo since January 2019, when twin suicide bombings during Sunday service killed more than 20 people and wounded at least 100.
The first explosion on Monday happened a few minutes before noon followed by another about an hour later not far from the Catholic cathedral.
A military report said one of the blasts was caused by a homemade bomb on a motorcycle.
Military spokesman Capt. Rex Payot said the blast damaged a food store, a computer shop, and two army trucks.
The Philippine military has been waging offensives against the terror group Abu Sayyaf, a small band of armed men who pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State.
One of its leaders, Abduljihad Susukan, surrendered to authorities early this month after being wounded in a firefight.
Susukan has been blamed for kidnappings and beheadings of hostages, including foreign tourists.
In January 2019, two bomb explosions inside Jolo’s Catholic cathedral were claimed by the so-called Islamic State.
The terrorist network issued a statement claiming two suicide bombers detonated explosive belts inside the church and near its entrance.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines described the bomb attack as an “act of terrorism.”
The church leaders then called on Christians “to join hands with all peace-loving Muslim and indigenous people communities in the advocacy against violent extremism.”
Authorities later said the motive behind the attack was “retaliation” for the death of one of the leaders of the Abu Sayyaf the previous year.