MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III on Saturday asked Filipinos to “pray for the healing” of the US, following the shooting rampage in a Connecticut elementary school that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults.
“At this time of the deepest mourning over the tragic loss of life in Connecticut, I extend the deepest sympathy and solidarity to the families of those who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook Elementary School,” said Mr. Aquino in a brief statement on Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in idyllic Newtown, Connecticut.
“Together with the entire Filipino people, we stand beside you with bowed heads, yet in deep admiration over the manner in which the American people have reached out to comfort the afflicted, and to search for answers that will give meaning and hope to this grim event.
“We pray for healing, and that this heartbreak will never be visited on any community ever again,” said the President.
Expounding on the President’s statement, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, in a radio interview, spoke about the horror of the second deadliest mass shooting in US history.
“I think a lot of us are horrified at what had happened because, perhaps, this has an added pinch because the majority of [the] … victims … are small children,” she said.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the families, to the teachers, to the loved ones of everybody in Sandy Hook [School],” said Valte, herself a mother.
“We can’t really imagine this kind of [unspeakable] incident. Our hearts and minds are with them, and our prayers are with them as they go through a very, very difficult time, especially since Christmas is approaching,” said Valte.
Asked about local efforts by the police force to regulate the proliferation of guns, she said that the “campaign of the PNP is underway.”
“As you know, we have a number of loose firearms that are already in the custody of the PNP, as well as the illegal firearms. We just need a little more time and push to allow their campaign to be successful,” she said.
Unlike in the US, owning guns in the Philippines is considered a privilege, not a right, and thus strictly regulated by the government.
The US considers the right to bear arms as part of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.