Two persons were injured when an improvised explosive device exploded Wednesday morning inside a commuter van in Davao City.
Davao City police director Sr. Supt. Vicente Danao said the bomb was placed at the back of the UV Express van with plate number MVW 553. The vehicle was headed to Davao from Pikit, North Cotabato.
One of the wounded victims was identified as Tata Besaniea, the van’s conductor, while the identity of the other injured was not immediately known.
Police said the bomb went off while the vehicle was parked along Ecoland Drive, minutes after its passengers were dropped off at the nearby mall terminal.
Initial investigation suggested that a 60mm mortar bomb placed in a cardboard box was intentionally left at the rear part of the van.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the attack, but several rebel groups are operating in the region.
The explosion happened after a series of grenade attacks in the town of Kabacan in North Cotabato and the city of Cotabato recently.
The Eastern Mindanao Command has enforced stricter security measures in military checkpoints following the blast. This, even as troops are in heightened alert since November 15 after the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, France and the on-going Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Manila.
“We are closely working with the police and other law enforcement agencies to ensure operational readiness and deployment of troops in case of emergency,” Capt. Alberto Caber, spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command, told The Manila Times.
Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte condemned the incident and assured the public that the local government is doing everything to keep the city safe and free from terror attacks.
He also made an impassioned appeal to whoever was behind the bomb explosion.
“We appeal for them to stop these acts of barbarity. Spare the lives of civilians,” Duterte said.