Davao airport security tightened after van explosion

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 Nov) – Security measures at the F. Bangoy International Airport have been tightened after an explosion inside a commercial van occurred along Ecowest Drive fronting Ecoland 4000 Residences around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

In a text message to MindaNews, Chief Insp. Eugene Balugo, chief of the F. Bangoy International Airport’s Police Station and PNP Aviation Security Unit 11, said that airport security has already been stepped up even before the incident took place due to the week-long APEC Leaders’ Summit in Manila.

“We are monitoring more often areas within our perimeter,” he said.

He said more than 40 security personnel from the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) 11, Task Force Davao, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and Sasa Police Station are ensuring security at the airport and the safety of the passengers.

The explosion along the Ecowest Drive involved a commercial Toyota Hi-Ace van from Pikit, North Cotabato driven by German Daag. His aide, Tatat Besañez, was injured when they left the SM van terminal as they headed towards the Times Beach area to eat breakfast.

The aide was immediately brought to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) where he received medical treatment after sustaining minor injuries.

A staff of the van terminal, who refused to be named for lack of authority to speak on the incident, told reporters that there were two passengers who disembarked just outside the SM van terminal and two more got off in the terminal.

According to her, one of the passengers left a blue bag that reportedly contained the bomb. The aide tried to surrender the bag to the management for safekeeping but this was not allowed as a company policy, so the two brought the bag as they left the terminal premises, she said.

Davao City Police Office (DCPO) director Vicente T. Danao told reporters that they are not discounting the possibility of any terror attack since the APEC Leaders’ Summit is being held in Manila.

“The threat is always there,” he said.