Davao blast ‘the price we need to pay’ in Duterte’s war vs crime and drugs – traders

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 8 Sep) – Mindanao Business Council (MBC) president Vicente Lao said the Roxas Night Market blast was “the price we need to pay” while President Rodrigo R. Duterte is “waging this difficult but necessary war” against crime and drugs.

“It will affect the business, especially the tourism sector. However, this is the price we need to pay if we really desire lasting peace in Mindanao,” he said in a text message Thursday.

Lao emphasized the need to rid Mindanao of all bad elements to put in place a semblance of peace and prosperity in some areas that have long been plagued by armed conflicts.

“Let’s just take proper precaution on these critical times when the President is waging this difficult but necessary war against drugs and crime. Let’s support him and hope he will succeed in this very difficult endeavor,” he said.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 11 director Adzar Albani speculated that the bombing might have a link to “narcoterrorism” involving politicians who have been publicly named by President Duterte as being involved in illegal drug operations.

Thousands of troops have also been detailed in Sulu to battle the Abu Sayyaf but the terrorist group, who pledged allegiance to global terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), denied involvement in the bombing incident based on the report of Inquirer.net.

But Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 deputy director Senior Supt. Valeriano de Leon, who also heads the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG), told a joint AFP-PNP press conference that they could not point to groups as of yet but added they have one suspect in the Roxas Night Market bombing that killed 14 people and injured 70 others.

Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII) president Bonifacio Tan also said the bombing has an adverse impact on the tourism sector but he said the city will recover.

Former DCCCII president Antonio dela Cruz said that the effect of bombing on the business community was noted for the first two days.

He cited the Dabawenyos’ resilience to recover fast from the incident.

“So far as per observation, it was only on the first two days after the bombing that the business became slugging. But as of today, it has started to be vibrant again and fast recovering,” Dela Cruz said.

He lauded Mayor Sara Duterte and brother her, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, for helping immediately the victims.

Last Friday’s incident resulted to the relief of the Task Force Davao commander, Col. Henry Robinson, and the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) director, Senior Supt. Michael John Dubria.

Robinson was replaced by Col. Erwin Bernard Neri, Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) chief of staff, who assumed the post Thursday.

Mayor Duterte, during the change of command at the TF Davao Headquarters at the Sta. Ana Wharf, said she did not undermine the capabilities of Robinson.

“Do not take it personally. It’s about me. It’s not about you as commander. Its not about your capabilities as officer,” she told Robinson.

“I don’t take that lightly, especially patay, especially children, maglisod ko.… We don’t want to see deaths, especially bomb-related or terrorist act-related. and I’m sure ganyan din ang sentiments ng lahat ng Dabawenyos,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)