A total of 21 people were wounded when series of explosions hit Cotabato City and the town of Libungan in North Cotabato Sunday evening, December 22.
In a Facebook post, Cotabato City Mayor Frances Cynthia J. Guiani-Sayadi said 16 are reported wounded after a grenade explosion transpired at Tantawan and Quezon Avenue area.
“Tonight is a sad and unfortunate night for all Cotabatenios. As of this time, 16 are reported wounded after a grenade explosion transpired at Tantawan and Quezon Avenue area earlier tonight. Among the victims are elements of the 5th Special Forces Battalion who were on stand by at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral tasked to secure the churchgoers while others were civilians who were just passing by the area,” Mayor Guiani-Sayadi said.
The city mayor assured the public that the authorities are in full control of the situation and that a lockdown have been implemented “to ensure that our city will no longer experience more atrocities for tonight.”
“This is not the time to point fingers but we should all be on guard and stay vigilant. I have already instructed all our barangay officials and our force multipliers to be on high alert. We can rise above these acts of terrorism. We are resilient and strong enough to fight against these people whose mission is to disrupt our peace. We must all be united in the face of these adversities,” the mayor said.
In Libungan, North Cotabato Acting Vice Gov Shirlyn Macasarte Villanueva meanwhile said that suspected bombs exploded in front of Remerata Store at Poblacion, Libungan Cotabato.
She identified five injured civilians as:
1. Rolando B. Amistoso (serious wounded, brought to CRMC, Cotabato City)
2. Ma. Vivian Bulahan (slightly wounded)
3. Ronald Eslit (slightly wounded)
4. Reynante Barbon (slightly wounded), and
5. Angelica Cabatingan (slightly wounded)
The victims were immediately brought to Pesante Hospital at Midsayap for treatment.
Villanueva said that few minutes after the first explosion, another bomb exploded more or less 15 meters away from the area of the first explosion was but there was no casualty as the area was already condoned.
According to EOD team the first and secondary explosions were made of 60mm mortar.
Villanueva meanwhile appealed to the public to stop spreading unverified reports.
“Let’s be vigilant and report any unusual observations. Lets all pray for peace to reign and rule in our communities,” she said.
Series of explosions happened in Cotabato City and in the town of Libungan in North Cotabato Sunday evening.
The first two explosions occurred around 5:58 p.m. near the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cotabato City.
Responding authorities recovered two more improvised explosive devices in the scene that were detonated around 6:21 pm.
Unconfirmed reports showed that the IED explosion caused injury to some people who were readily rushed to the hospital.
In Libungan town, two explosions also happened around 6:15 in the evening.
The first explosion happened near the town hall while another happened at a store selling liquefied petroleum gas near a bridge.
A live report by DXMA Wow Radio on their Facebook page however showed that there were two explosions outside the LPG store with the second explosion being caught on the video.
A uniformed man confirmed on video that the second explosion came from an 81mm mortar that’s usually used as IED by armed militants in Central Mindanao.
President Rodrigo Duterte was scheduled to visit Cotabato City on Monday, December 23, for the distribution of Certificate of Land Ownership Award to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries in BARMM Complex.