Puno says “intensified security plan” set up to prevent bombings

But Local Governments Secretary Ronaldo Puno refused to divulge to media what the plan entails.

In a press conference on Thursday in Makilala, North Cotabato, where Tuesday’s blast killed six and injured 29 others, Puno assured the public the police and military authorities “are not sleeping on the job.”  

“We have an intensified security plan to arrest and put behind bars those responsible in the bombings,” he stressed.

The business group in North Cotabato has expressed fears that the business climate in the province would be affected.

Unless efforts are undertaken to restore confidence in the area, “more businessmen will shy away from investing in the province,” said Dan Sembrano, president of the Metro Kidapawan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Sembrano, owner of Sheer Marketing, dealer of multi-cabs, was himself a victim of the bombings in this city last August.

Three of his brand new multi-cabs were destroyed when a powerful bomb, placed in one of the vehicles on display, exploded on August 28.

Even the celebration of the city’s annual fruit festival has been affected by the bombing.

“Instead of going to the pavilion, city plaza, and gym where different activities are being held, people would rather stay at home, listen to radio and watch TV,” said Kidapawan City Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco.  

Gantuangco decided to proceed with the holding of the 5th Timpupo Fruit Festival which was to start October 11, the morning after the blast.

“We requested for additional contingent from the PNP in Region 12 and from the Philippine Army to make sure everything would be okay.    We also mobilized on a 24-hour patrolling our 150-strong village guards,” he stressed.

The fruit fest activities include, among others, a streetside eat-all-you-can or the Fruit Galore where fruits on display can be eaten at no charge; street dancing competition; search for the Lakambini ng Timpupo; fruit-eating contest; inter-collegiate cheer dance contest and mountain bike challenge.

Puno gave half a million pesos to North Cotabato Governor Emmanuel Piñol and Makilala Mayor Onofre Respicio as financial assistance to victims and relatives of the injured.

Data from the Makilala LGU showed the bills incurred by those still recuperating in different hospitals here and in Makilala have reached at least P2 million. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)