THE Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Saturday confirmed that only three people were killed while several others were injured in an explosion at the Two Serendra condominium and a nearby building at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City on Friday evening.
In a press briefing, Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas told reporters that no explosive device or traces were found at the site during the initial investigation.
“Hindi pa natin sinasabi na hindi ito bomba pero factual ito, masasabi natin na dun sa tatlong teams ng bomb-sniffing dogs na yun, hindi sila nag-register ng pag-amoy ng fumes or residue na nagmumula sa mga pangkaraniwang bomba,” he said.
Roxas said K-9 units from the Southern Police District, National Capital Region Police Office and Philippine Army did not find positive indications that the blast was caused by a bomb though he added that investigations are still continuing and they have not yet ruled out the possibility that it was caused by an explosive device.
The DILG chief said that, one of the occupants at condo unit 501, where the blast reportedly occurred, had complained of suffocation before the incident.
The occupant was identified as Angelito San Juan. He is currently in the intensive care unit at St. Luke’s Medical Center Global City after sustaining burns.
Investigators also found burn marks in unit 306, which was one floor below San Juan’s unit, Roxas said.
He further noted that authorities also found a used fire extinguisher in unit 506, which was on the same floor as unit 501.
The DILG chief, meanwhile, corrected the number of casualty issued earlier on Saturday by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
The NDRRMC on Saturday morning reported that there were six people dead from the powerful explosion on Friday night.
Roxas clarified that only three people were killed in the blast and five others were injured, including San Juan.
The fatalities were men on board a passing Abenson delivery van which was crushed by large chunks of concrete that fell from the building.
They were identified as Salvador Natividad, driver of the van, and Jeffrey Umali and Marlon Bandola, both passengers.
The four other injured victims were identified as Allen Poole, resident of condo unit 683, and passersby 9-year-old Louise Lorenzo, Janine Nicole Bondoc and 19-year-old April Joy Garcia.
Two Serendra building was fully evacuated after the explosion.
Roxas has also ordered the pre-emptive evacuation of the residents and tenants to ensure their safety while authorities are still conducting an investigation on the incident.
“Humihingi kami ng paumanhin sa mga residente pero ang inyong kaligtasan ang siyang sinisiguro dito kaya hindi muna kayo pababalikin hanggang masiguro nila lahat ng itong mga connection sa electrical, tubig, gas ay sigurado,” Roxas appealed.
The Ayala Land, in a statement, said that at least 10 condo units in Tower B of Two Serendra were damaged by the powerful explosion.
Roxas said that all utilities including power, water and gas in Tower B and nearby areas have been turned off until Department of Public Works and Highways engineers have determined that these are safe for usage.
Meanwhile, the city government of Taguig under Mayor Laarni “Lani” Cayetano has already formed a crisis management team tasked to investigate the cause of the blast.
Cayetano, in a statement, also assured that the affected residents will receive assistance from the city government.
“Amin pong sinisiguro na makakatanggap ng tulong ang lahat po ng naapektuhang residenteng ito mula sa lungsod ng Taguig,” Cayetano said.
“Nais ko din pong manawagan sa lahat ng na tayo’y tumulong na makipagbahagi ng tamang impormasyon sa publiko upang maiwasan ang paglaganap ng takot at kaba sa mga mamamayan,” the mayor pleaded.