Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (centre) with the country's security force (Photo: sunstar.com.ph)
 
Hanoi (VNA) – The Philippine government has vowed to destroy those behind twin bombings that killed 27 people and injured nearly 80 others during a church service in the country's south on January 27.

In a statement, Salvador Panelo, spokesman of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, said the enemies of the state have challenged the capability of the government to secure the safety of its citizens. The armed forces of the Philippines will rise to the challenge and crush the criminals, he stressed.

The first explosion went off at a cathedral on Jolo island, in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, and was followed by a second blast outside, which was detonated as security forces raced to the scene, officials said.

The remote island of Jolo is a base of Abu Sayyaf, a militant group notorious for conducting bombings, assassinations and kidnappings.

The bombings took place days after the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, a new law that paves the way for the creation of a wider autonomous region for Muslim Filipinos in Mindanao.

Although Muslims overwhelmingly approved the law, Sulu province, where Jolo is located, voted against the autonomous government.

The Philippine Commission on Elections earlier said the law was ratified after getting more than 1.5 million votes in favour.-VNA