In its attempt to land, a military cargo plane carrying military personnel crashed in Patikul, Sulu as it overshot a runway in Jolo municipality last Sunday, 04 July 2021. Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Cirilito Sobejana has reported that the number of casualties is now at 52 — three of whom were residents in the area — while 49 others were injured in one of the worst air disasters in Philippine history.

The people of Patikul were at the frontlines as they immediately went into action, saving lives as they actively sought survivors at the crash site. Their quick response, anchored on the Tausug people’s deeply ingrained spirit of bayanihan, saved lives that day, and we are grateful for their compassion and generosity in the midst of tragedy.

I extend my deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones, and my thoughts are with those who were injured as I pray for their health and healing. It is difficult to find words that can express the immensity of our collective grief and suffering, and I share in the unimaginable loss of those who are mourning. I humbly offer my office’s resources and immediate assistance to the bereaved, and our staff is ready to extend its support to the people of Patikul as they face the challenge of rebuilding and recovery following this tragedy.Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.