Davao City on lockdown after mall bombings

Subscribe Now September 17, 2013 at 02:09pm

The city government is on a lockdown following two blasts inside cinemas of two major shopping malls here on Monday night.

Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte told media that while the shopping malls -- SM City Davao and Gaisano Mall of Davao -- are in charge of their own security, the police and the military will intensify checkpoints on entry points to the city, deploy foot patrols, as well as apply random checks.

At around 9 p.m. of Monday, a bomb exploded inside SM Cinema 1 and another one exploded inside Gaisano Mall Cinema 5. Fortunately, no one was killed although five people were brought to the hospital complaining of ringing in their ears. They were released shortly thereafter.

Mr. Duterte said authorities can only do so much at this point. He also challenged residents and visitors to sue him and not the police if they think the security measures taken violate their human rights.

Mr. Duterte was on official business in South Korea and was supposed to come home on Friday yet but he rushed back and caught the last flight to Manila on Monday night. He then boarded the 4 a.m. flight to Davao City.

To date, both shopping malls have yet to release their official statements.

In a press conference at around 7 a.m. today (Tuesday), Mr. Duterte said the city gvoernment will review all the protocols of security agencies employed by the shopping malls.

“We want to know what they are bringing inside (the movie houses), if it’s siopao (steamed buns) or something else, we want to know,” he said, adding that he will not hesitate to order the establishments to close down their cinemas if necessary.

Members of the Explosives Ordnance Team of the Davao City Police Office and Scene of the Crime Operatives are still conducting post-blast examination in trying to determine the bomb signature.

So far, authorities could still not point out the groups or individuals involved in the twin bombings. The mayor, however, told the police not to rush the investigation to ensure they get the right perpetrators before making any official pronouncements. “It’s all speculative at this point,” he said.

The fact that the bomb was placed in a low-traffic environment led authorities to surmise that terrorism might not be the main motive. But still, Mr. Duterte said, it’s “purely a guessing game.”

The Moro National Liberation Front’s Davao chairman Rolando Abdul Aziz Olamit, who rushed to Gaisano Mall of Davao on Monday night, said that the incident has nothing to do with the Zamboanga City crisis involving MNLF members and government troops. “Definitely, this has nothing to do with (us). The MNLF in Davao City is supporting peace and order,” he said.

Mr. Duterte said he spoke with both Mr. Olamit and MNLF founder Nur Misuari who assured him that there was no order to launch attacks in Davao City. He said he believes the two MNLF leaders.

Source: bworldonline.com

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