Blasts hit Davao City malls

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

DAVAO CITY (Updated) -- Two improvised bombs exploded 22 minutes apart Monday night inside Cinema 1 of SM City Davao and Cinema 5 of Gaisano Mall of Davao on JP Laurel Avenue in Bajada.

Police said an explosion rocked SM cinema at around 9:03 p.m. followed by another blast inside GMall cinema at around 9:25 p.m.

Authorities have yet to disclose identity of groups or individuals involved in the twin bombings as of Tuesday afternoon, but City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte told probers not to rush the investigation.

Duterte said they are taking the situation seriously but he still cannot speculate on whether the main motive of the perpetrators is terrorism, adding that, so far, it's "purely a guessing game".

Authorities on Tuesday said they are still conducting investigation of the twin explosions.

Davao City Police Office director Sr. Supt. Ronald dela Rosa, in a text message, said the security forces immediately rushed to the crime scene and advised the remaining moviegoers to vacate the area.

Dela Rosa added that no one was hurt among the 10 moviegoers inside the SM City cinema which was hit by the first explosion.

The second blast happened at Gmall cinema wherein the bomb was placed under sixth seat at the ninth row.

Dela Rosa said five moviegoers who were watching the "Intersection" were brought to San Pedro Hospital (SPH), following their complaint of a severe ear pain after the bomb blast.

The five victims were identified as Diliah Montenegro, 19; Margie Sarita Gildes, 19; Jeziel Janison, 17; Merry Apple Tacyawan, 20, all residents of Pioneer Drive; and Gian Albarico of Mintal in Davao City.

Dela Rosa said the victims are now safe and already went home after they had their checkup at the hospital.

The alarmed city mayor arrived in the city via Philippine Airlines at 4 a.m. straight from Korea and called for command conference which was attended by the DCPO, Task Force Davao, Police Regional Office (PRO) 11, and Army's 10th Infantry Division, among others.

Duterte, in a command conference at the Grand Men Seng Hotel, said the city has been receiving threats for the past few months this year. He added that they are now trying to look into the probable cause of the two bomb blast.

Duterte said they are looking at whether the incident is connected to political aspiration, or rebellion, or interest, revenge and hatred. He added that as of now he could not give exact details on who was responsible for the attack.

"There's a threat and we will take it seriously even if there's no casualty in the incident. We will minimize the effects of the blasts because it appears to be a statement, may gustong ipahiwatig ang gumawa nun," Duterte said.

When asked if the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has something to do with the incident, Duterte said in a scale of 1 to 10, he would rate it 1. He added that he had earlier talked to MNLF chair Nur Misuari and the latter said it was not the handiwork of his group.

Davao MNLF chair Rolando T. Olamit, in a separate interview, also denied the MNLF as behind the bomb blasts, adding that it might be a "third force" who is behind the incident.

"As far as we're concern, wala sa MNLF ang may gawa ng bomb blast sa dalawang malls. Malinaw naman yung sinabi ng aming leader na Davao City will be safe from the stand-off dun sa Zamboanga," Olamit said. (NCB/ICT/Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)

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