P100,000 reward offered for those behind NorthCot blasts

KABACAN, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 18 Nov) – Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza bared on Tuesday that a P100,000 reward has been raised for the arrest of the mastermind behind the grenade blasts in this municipality over the weekend.

“We have revived the Task Force Kabacan to strengthen choke points in the area. We offer incentives to those who can give information to the identity of the perpetrators or mastermind,” the governor said.

Mendoza said Kabacan Mayor Herlo Guzman pledged half of the reward money, saying the local government is leading the investigation to determine the mastermind behind the blasts that left five persons injured evening of November 15.

The following night, still unidentified men lobbed a grenade at the parking area of a gasoline station, wherein one person was injured.

Mendoza said that the provincial government is presently conducting refresher training course for Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) members in different towns to better equip them in their job of securing and maintaining peace and order.

As this developed, Senior Supt. Alex Tagum, Cotabato Provincial Police Office (CPPO) chief, said they already strengthened security in this bustling town, which also hosts the University of Southern Mindanao.

Supt. Bernard Tayong, CPPO spokesperson, said the reactivation of Task Force Kabacan will help ensure safety of the local folks.

Apart from the local police, the task force is composed of augmentation personnel from the CPPO and from different police stations in the province.

Following the blasts, Tayong believes that the grenade throwing incidents were not totally intended to harm civilians.

“If you look at the locations where [the blasts] happened, these were not crowded places. Unfortunately it happened that in the first incident, grenade shrapnel hit some civilians,” Tayong told MindaNews.

Like the second blast, which was on Sunday evening, Tayong said the suspects lobbed the grenade at the parking area of a gasoline station.

As the police are still investigating the motive of these incidents, Tayong hinted that reports have been circulating in Kabacan that politics could be the motive behind the blasts.

Guzman, who will seek reelection in next year’s elections, is challenged by two other bets.