2 injured in blast beside Koronadal cathedral

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 29 April) — Two persons were injured when a suspected improvised bomb exploded beside a tricycle parked in front of the side entrance of the main Catholic church here Sunday noon.

Supt. Ronald Allan Penaverde, Koronadal City police chief, said the explosion occurred at around 12:05 noon in front of the side entrance of the St. Anthony de Padua parish’s Christ the King Cathedral along Rizal Street.

Another suspected bomb was recovered at around 1:40 p.m. near a convenience store located about three blocks away from the church but was detonated by explosives ordnance disposal (EOD) experts.

The explosive was found inside a plastic bag left by an unidentified woman in front of the 747 convenience store along General Santos Drive.

The convenience store is a few meters away from the old city hall compound and the city police station.

Fragments from the blast beside the parked tricycle hit a driver of a passing tricycle identified as Dindo Zamora, 39 and bystander Generosa Sumargo, 34. Both sustained minor injuries.

The parked tricycle, marked with Motorized Tricycle Operators Permit number 5079, was severely damaged as a result of the explosion.

Five other motorcycles parked near the area sustained various damages.

Helen Payunan, passenger of the tricycle driven by Zamora, said they were passing by the area when the explosion happened.

She just came from a nearby shopping mall and was attending a child’s baptism at the cathedral.

Zamora, who was hit on his back and mouth, was forced to slow down and eventually stop the tricycle due to the blast.

“I immediately jumped and ran away,” she told reporters.

Security guard Maria Luz Magollado said she was sitting at her post near the gate when the explosion came.

“It was very loud and I saw a thick smoke coming from the parked tricycle,” she said.

Magollado said she immediately ushered parishioners to clear the area and secured the church compound.

She said it was fortunate that most of the parishioners who attended the fourth mass had left before the blast.

But there were some people still inside the church for the baptism rites.

Mayor Peter Miguel condemned the incident and advised residents to remain calm and vigilant.

“The situation is under control. There was another explosive found but it was already detonated by EOD personnel,” he said in a radio interview.

He said authorities have tightened security at the city center area, including nearby churches and commercial establishments.

“This is a huge challenge for us but we will do everything to find the perpetrators. We will not tolerate this,” he vowed. (MindaNews)