A similar bomb exploded at around noon between in Cotabato City, between Today’s Commercial and Cocobank across South Seas Mall but no one was injured because a vendor, who spotted the bomb urged everyone to move out.
In Makilala, a member of the Explosives and Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team said the improvised explosive device (IED) found Wednesday morning did not explode because the cellular phone that acted as a triggering mechanism failed to function.
The bomb, fashioned out of two live 81-mm mortar heads rigged with a blasting mechanism, was placed in a red plastic bag. It was discovered by two utility workers of the town hall along the building’s pathway, Makilala Mayor Onofre Respicio said.
The discovered bomb was similar to what exploded Tuesday night in Makilala and Tuesday noon in Tacurong City. Four persons were injured in the Tacurong blast.
North Cotabato Governor Emmanuel Piñol blamed the MILF for the attack. “This is the handiwork of the MILF,” he told radio station DXND, adding the features of the bomb are “signature MILF.”
MILF spokesperson Eid Kabalu challenged the governor to show proof the MILF was behind the bombing.
“There is no reason for the MILF to orchestrate such attack in a time that both parties are trying to work on the stalled peace talks,” said Kabalu.
Sheikh Mohammad Muntassir, head of the MILF’s Dawah Committee, the second highest authority in Islam in the MILF hierarchy issued a statement posted in the MILF’s website, www.luwaran.com, condemning the bombings in Tacurong and Makilala as “the handiwork of Satan and soulless criminals.”
“We join all peace-loving peoples and groups in denouncing these bombings as acts of barbarism,” Muntassir said.
The article’s headline said “MILF condemns latest bombings; sees peace saboteurs’ hand” but the posted article mentions nothing about who these “peace saboteurs” could be.
Mayor Respicio said the utility workers thought the bag was left behind during the commotion Tuesday night “but when they searched the bag, they found something unusual” and immediately sought help from bomb experts.
No explanation has been made as to why the police and the bomb experts failed to see the bomb when scouring the area for other possible explosives Tuesday night.
“If the bomb exploded, it could have brought damage to peoples’ lives and properties more than what we could imagine,” said Respicio.
At the time of the explosion, a disco at the park was about to start. “This explains why a number of people got killed and injured when the bombing occurred. People were preparing for the disco at the park,” he said.
Killed were Wilfredo Singson, 52; Honey Grace Gomez; Nelson Toralba; Romeo Famugas, 27; Ling-ling Tajan-Tajan; and Jerilyn Parba, 24.
On the same date four years ago, a bomb exploded at the terminal of Weena Bus in Kidapawan City. The blast left six persons dead, including a 6-year old boy, and 25 others injured.
National TV networks then quoted military sources as saying the culprits were either the New People’s Army or the MILF but Pinol said neither the NPA nor the MILF was behind it. He said extortionists hounding the management of Weena Bus, were responsible for the blast.
The MILF and the NPA in separate statements denied responsibility behind the terminal blast.
Piñol and Respicio promised the family and relatives of the victims that they would take charge of the bills in the hospital and the funeral parlor..
Kidapawan Bishop Romulo Valles condemned the bombing. He went around the city’s hospitals Tuesaday night. (Malu Cadelina-Manar with a report from Williamor A. Magbanua)