AT LEAST 10 people were killed and 60 others were injured when an explosion struck a crowded night market on Roxas Avenue in President Rodrigo Duterte’s home city of Davao Friday night, authorities said.
The explosion occurred around 10:20 p.m. close to one of Davao City’s top hotels that is popular with tourists and business people, city police spokeswoman Sr. Insp. Catherine de la Rey said.
President Rodrigo Duterte, the former mayor of the city, and aide Christopher Go went to the blast site. Police suspected that an improvised explosive caused the blast, but presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a television interview there was “nothing definite yet” as regards the details
of the explosion. ”We don’t want to cause anxiety,” Abella told CNN Philippines.
Those injured in the blast were rushed to the Southern Philippines Medical Center.
In a statement, Davao Region police director Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan said: “The PNP is assuring the public that the situation is being handled carefully. A thorough investigation is being conducted to determine the cause of the explosion and checkpoints/chokepoints were already established at all exit points in the city.” ”We call on all the people to be vigilant at all times and report to the police any suspicious packages or persons. Please refrain from creating/passing misleading or unverified reports to avoid confusion and panic,” he added.
Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, one of the President’s sons, likewise said authorities were on top of the situation. “Right now, we cannot yet give a definite answer as to who is behind this as we are also trying to determine what really exploded,” he said.
“Let us pray for the victims of this unfortunate incident, especially for those who died. Let us pray for those who are being treated in different hospitals and pray for their quick recovery. There are at least 10 people who perished because of the incident and a number were reported wounded,” he added.
The blast occurred amid military offensives against the IS-linked Abu Sayyaf group in Sulu province. Jihadists have earlier threatened to retaliate against military and civilian targets.