Mayor Pedro Acharon Jr. said that the blast that destroyed a lotto outlet along Santiago Blvd. would have little effect on the business climate here. But he admitted that tourism efforts may suffer.
Over two hours after the explosion here, another bomb went off in Kidapawan City, injuring three persons. Hours later, yet another blast rocked Cotabato City, killing one and injured five others.
Pilar Afuang, executive director of the city’s business chamber, said the city would overcome the effects of the bombing. She predicted that business would slow down in the next two to three months but would bounce back after.
She noted that there have been bombings in the past, but the investors, who are mostly locals, never left.
“The effects of the bombing will be only for a while. We need to do more work to convince investors from outside to pour in their capital to the city,” Afuang advised.
Arnel Sayco of the Department of Trade and Industry here said it was business as usual, and that the bombing “has not really caused a negative impact” on the local business climate.
“We can overcome the challenges that we’re facing,” he said, adding that threat is even present in areas like London and Spain, which also suffered bombings not too long ago.
Authorities here have formed “Task Force Triple B” to solve the three bombing incidents Wednesday.
Police released today the cartographic sketch of the suspect based on a witness’s descriptions.
The suspect was said to be 28 to 30 years old, 5’6” to 5’7” tall with medium built.
Acharon said investigators are looking at three angles as motive for the bombings — to shame the government in the ongoing peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a disgruntled lotto winner who was allegedly not paid his winnings, and pure destabilization.
The bombing in front of the main public market here occurred just after the conclusion of the two-day meeting of the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) of the government and the MILF, which was also attended by the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team.
Chief Supt. Rolando Doria, Region 12 police director, said that the Wednesday bombings were related to each other.
He said the Cotabato City bombing was perpetrated by the Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayyaf, but could not yet pinpoint a group behind the GenSan and Kidapawan blasts.
Doria theorized that the explosions could be a retaliation for the reported death of Abu Sayyaf leader Khadaffy Janjalani in Sulu.