COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 26 Jan) – A passing motorcycle driver was killed while his backrider was rushed to a nearby hospital after a powerful explosion hit them while traversing the national road going to downtown South Upi, Maguindanao 5:45 a.m. Tuesday.
Shaine Jhae Collado, who is living not far from the explosion site in Barangay Romangaob downtown proper, said the early morning blast that occurred near the town hall woke residents in the area.
“Akala ko anong pampagising lang, bomba na pala (I thought it was something to wake us up, turned out to be a bomb),” he said.
Collado said a man wearing a helmet with blood all over was lying on the road, his position still sitting on the motorcycle. He was later identified as the driver, Alberto delos Santos of Barangay Purikay in Lebak, Sultan Kudarat.
The backrider was identified as Loreto Palma Jr., 54, also a resident of Purikay. He was rushed to Cotabato Regional and Medical Center in Cotabato City as he sustained several shrapnel wounds.
It was learned that they were on their way to Cotabato City for medical checkup.
Around 10:30 a.m., another improvised explosive device was found in the market area by vigilant market goers who immediately reported to authorities. A huge 105mm mortar round connected to a triggering device was immediately disarmed by responding explosive ordnance disposal teams from the police and military.
Mayor Reynalbert Insular condemned the latest atrocities hitting again his hometown.
“Our police are now on the ground gathering more information,” he said.
A few weeks ago, Insular survived an ambush and roadside bomb attack in Barangay Pilar after his visit in nearby Barangay Itaw, the beleaguered village targeted by attacks by lawless elements who linked themselves to the ISIS-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
One of civilian passengers who hitchhiked in his convoy was hit and died. It was the third attempt on the life of Insular since he was elected in 2016.
Land conflicts are among issues now hounding the town of South Upi. (Ferdinand Cabrera / MindaNews)