Malacañang condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the twin blasts that killed at least 12 in Jolo, Sulu on Monday.

Twelve were confirmed dead as of 3 p.m., including seven soldiers, four civilians and one female believed to be a suicide bomber. 

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the explosion incidents in Jolo, Sulu today, which left scores dead and wounded, including soldiers. We likewise condole with the families and loved ones of those who died in these tragic incidents,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.

The Philippine Red Cross reported that an improvised explosive caused the first explosion at 1:53 a.m., damaging a military truck, a snack house, a grocery store and a computer shop.

A suicide bomber detonated the second bomb at the back of the municipal office in Brgy. Walled City at about 1 p.m..

“Authorities are now conducting an investigation, which includes identifying individuals or groups behind these dastardly attacks,” Roque assured.

Sulu is a known lair of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

In January 2019, the military accused the ASG of orchestrating the Jolo Cathedral bombings, which killed 18 and injured 82.

Roque called on the town residents “to stay vigilant and report suspicious personalities and unattended items in their areas.” John Ezekiel J. Hirro