Gunfires disrupt Christmas lights display launch in Cotabato City

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 7 December) – Just when Cotabato City Mayor Bruce Matabalao finished the opening of the display of Christmas lights at the plaza here past 7 p.m. Tuesday and was about to speak before the media, gunfires rang nearby, causing spectators to scamper for safety.

Cotabato City Mayor Bruce Matabalao (seated, center) leads Cotabateños in welcoming the Christmas season Tuesday night (6 December 2022). Moments later, gunfires rang nearby. Photo from the Facebook page of Mayor Matabalao

Police and other security units sealed off the city plaza, securing the city mayor and key officials.

As it turned out, a security guard fired his gun while chasing a thief who stole a chocolate bar from a convenience store, according to Police Colonel Querubin Manalang Jr.

“It was a warning shot, that’s what we learned. But it’s still not right for a civilian to fire his gun. We are looking for the one who did that since no one is admitting yet,” he added.

Journalists who covered the event witnessed the chaotic scenario themselves as they ran towards the security officers for protection, fearing of any sabotage.

After things settled, the City Government of Cotabato asked the residents who may have been injured to inform authorities.

Among the attendees were children and their mothers, as well as senior citizens. “We are all calling for every Cotabateño to pray for safety and peaceful holiday celebration to everyone,” the mayor said. (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)