7 hurt in GenSan bomb blast

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Seven persons were wounded after an improvised bomb exploded before noon Sunday near a row of establishments along the national highway in Barangay Apopong here.

Chief Supt. Eliseo Rasco, director of Police Regional Office 12 (Soccsksargen), said the blast occurred at about 11:50 a.m. in front of the Vic Bonito Lying-in Clinic, which is located at a crowded section of the Makar junction.

Rasco said it ripped through the facade of the clinic and nearby establishments, which includes an eatery, pharmacy and a pawnshop.

He said the seven persons sustained minor injuries and were brought to the St. Elizabeth Hospital for treatment.

They were identified as Marlon Orabia, 30; Jerry Guyos, 19; Joana Bless Alipio, 3; Filipa Regidor, 64; Lally Jean Alipio, 34; John Lennon Calang, 22; and Claire Uozola, 24.

Witnesses said an unidentified person reportedly left a bag in front of the clinic minutes before the blast.

A worker at the clinic, who asked not to be named, said she saw a man in front of the establishment “like he was looking for something.”

She said she asked him if he needed something and was told that he was looking where to buy pork.

The witness, who was then with her father, said they waved the man off and proceeded to close the clinic to have their lunch.

Moments after settling down, she said they suddenly heard an explosion in front of the clinic.

Rasco, who rushed to the scene, said initial investigation showed that the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device.

“This is (an act of) terrorism. The purpose of the perpetrators is to clearly terrorize the people,” he said.

He said they are looking at possible links to the Aug. 28 and Sept. 2 bomb attacks in Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat, which killed five people and injured more than 40 others.

Both incidents were blamed by authorities to alleged terror cells of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

“But we can’t make any conclusion yet as we don’t have the evidences and our investigation is still ongoing,” he said. Alejandro Saludo/PNA-northboundasia.com