UPDATE: Powerful blast kills 1, injures 48 in Zamboanga City

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/23 January) – A person was killed while the wounded climbed to 48 from the earlier 33 reported in a suspected car bomb explosion Friday in this city, officials said.

Citing initial investigation, Senior Supt. Angelito Casimiro, Zamboanga City police director, said the bomb exploded shortly after 3 p.m. near the bus terminal in Barangay Guiwan.

Zamboanga City explosion

Ordnance experts conduct a post-blast investigation in Zamboanga City on Friday, 23 January 2015. MindaNews contributed photo by Charlie Saceda

One of the wounded victims is a policeman detailed at the bus terminal while the others include residents staying nearby and passengers bound for the other parts of the region.

Dr. Rodelin agbulos, City Health Officer, said the blast wounded 48 people, two of them still in critical condition.

Senior Police Officer 3 Brasim Abilani, who is also detailed at the bus terminal, said they saw a car was burning, followed suddenly by a strong explosion.

Abilani said the car was parked in front of a pub house located across the terminal that caters to buses of the Rural Transit Management, Incorporated (RTMI) plying from this city to other parts of the region.

The explosion also destroyed a car and a tricycle, and shattered the glass windows of nearby establishments.

Police and military forces immediately cordoned the highway and diverted traffic towards this city’s east coast to pave way for the post-blast investigation.

Col. Andrelino Colina, Task Force Zamboanga chief, said they have yet to determine the type of explosive used, noting that explosive ordnance demolition personnel are still sifting through the blast site.

RTMI Manager Efren Dela Cruz said they have suspended the trips from this city starting 3 p.m. as the highway was closed and the frontage of the terminal building was also destroyed.

Dela Cruz said they will resume trips at 6 p.m., but the embarkation point is at the RTMI motorpool in Barangay Divisoria.

Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar has urged the public to remain calm but vigilant, stressing that the police and military remain in control of the situation.

Salazar urged the police and military to hasten the post-blast investigation to be able to re-open the highway.

“We have to go back to normalcy as soon as possible,” Salazar said.

She mobilized the local government resources to provide assistance to the victims taken to the different hospitals.