(Updated) 7 wounded in Sultan Kudarat bus bombing; victims named

For the first time, a double-decker bus operated by Husky Tours plies the cities of Koronadal and General Santos. The bus was seen traversing the national highway in Koronadal on Wednesday (29 March 2023). MindaNews photo by BONG S. SARMIENTO

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 17 April) – At least seven persons were wounded after a suspected improvised explosive device exploded inside a passenger bus parked at the public terminal in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat Monday noon, police officials said.

The first post at 2:40 p.m. reported six injured persons.

Brig. Gen. Jimili Macaraeg, Police Regional Office-12 (PRO-12) director, condemned the explosion as he assured that “PRO-12 is already on top of the situation.”

“We will intensify our efforts, together with the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and other law enforcement agencies, to identify the personalities behind this atrocity and deliver justice to the victims,” he said in a statement.

PRO-12 activated a provincial-level Special Investigation Task Group to handle the case, he added.

The victims were identified as follows:

  1. John Ruskin A. Dela Cruz, 15, of Barangay Calumpang, General Santos City
  1. Jeffrey A. Dela Cruz, 14, of Barangay Calumpang, General Santos City
  2. Javiren A. Batican, 13, of Alabel, Sarangani Province
  3. Edgar P. Cochoco, 56, of Malabang, Lanao del Sur
  4. Ramsiya I. Alilayah, 60, of Apopong, General Santos City
  5. Nur Fatima D. Maca -antao, 25, of Marawi City
  6. Analia Bagundang, 57, of PC Hill, Cotabato City

They were brought to the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Hospital for treatment.

Earlier, Lt. Col. Lino Capellan, spokesperson of the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Police Office, said a new double-decker bus of Husky Tours was damaged in the middle portion by the explosion at around 12:20 p.m.

“The explosion hit the lower deck of the bus. Six individuals suffered injuries but are now in safe condition in the hospital,” he said in a phone interview.

Capellan said the police intelligence community had received information that some quarters are allegedly planning to carry out a bomb attack in the province.

In November last year, a unit of Yellow Bus Line, Inc. was also bombed in neighboring Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, resulting in the death of one person and the wounding of about a dozen other individuals.

The PRO-12 said the Yellow Bus management received extortion demands allegedly from the Islamic State-inspired Dawlah Islamiyah.

Capellan said that authorities were still investigating if the management of Husky Tours also received extortion demands prior to the bombing of its unit.

The double-decker Husky Tours bus came from Cotabato en route to General Santos City, he added. 

Prior to the latest bus bombing, Capellan said they have intensified security measures in the area. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)