City on alert

Successive blasts in North Cotabato over the weekend put the DCPO on edge
Davao City is in full red alert status after the blast on Sunday in front of Pilot Elementary School in Kabacan, North Cotabato that killed one and wounded 17 people, majority of whom were students of the state-run University of Southern Mindanao.“After we received the report regarding an IED explosion in Kabacan, I gave a directive to all police stations to be on alert. The city is in full red alert status now,” City police director, Sr. Supt. Vicente D. Danao Jr., said in an interview yesterday.

Danao said all police officers have been called to their respective stations as the Davao City Police Office will maximize deployment of personnel to shopping malls, transport terminals, public markets  business establishments, and vital installations as a precautionary measure.

Supt. Angel Sumagaysay, the head of operations at DCPO, said they contacted all police commanders, mobile patrol uits and the Public Safety Command Center to “be on alert.”

According to Danao, the red alert status will continue until they are convinced that Davao City is safe from attack.

In a MindaNews report, at least 15 persons were wounded when an improvised explosive device went off in front of a public elementary schoolat 6:45 p.m. Sunday in Kabacan, North Cotabato.

Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesperson of the 6th Infantry Division, said reports reaching him indicated “an IED exploded at Pilot Central Elementary School” at the poblacion in Kabacan while “another suspected IED was planted / placed near the overpass adjacent to the incident area” but was “successfully disrupted” by responding troops.

Initial reports said four unidentified civilians were injured and were immediately brought to the Kabacan Medical Specialist for treatment.

The report reaching Hermoso’s office listed 17 injured including: Samra Sembaga, Hartzel Bragat, Tonton Kusain, Flo Rohana , Gerlie Royles, Rowena Nufies, Albert Palakpak, Ritchie Baguio, Queen Mary Alimuhanid, Mohamid Masukat, Ibrahim Bantulan, Arvie Estrella and two still unidentified persons.

The casualty was identified by Sr. Insp. Aldrin Martin Gonzales, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office-XII, as Monique Mantawil. However, he could not provide any more details other than the name.

He also said that they couldn’t yet confirm if the blast was connected with the bombing in Tulunan on Saturday night when a bomb blast rocked the village of Banayal where the army detachment was located at 7:10 p.m.

P100K bounty

Meanwhile, the governor of North Cotabato already offered a P100,000 bounty to anyone who could provide vital information behind Sunday’s blast in Kabacan town.

“It is downright disappointing to see innocent lives affected by this cowardly act. This is insane As your Governor, I am hurt and angry,” Emmylou Talino-Mendoza said.

One student was reported to have died but this has yet to be confirmed.

The governor said she is saddened that  despite the efforts made by the provincial government to invest in development programs and peace and order, there are still those who want to sabotage the efforts.

“I ask every Cotabateno not to succumb to fear but stand our ground against those who bring conflict and criminality in our province. Christians, Muslims and Lumads should not allow animosity to divide Cotabato, I call everyone to be vigilant, join me in embracing peace as we demand justice (for) the victims of this senseless adventurism”, Mendoza said.

During the crisis situation earlier, the provincial government sent rescue units and ambulances and even called all doctors including those off duty, to report to the hospitals and assist in attending to the injured. With MindaNews