While the rest of the country was asleep, hundreds of people both tourists and locals flocked the famous Davao City night market along Roxas street, Friday night. It was a gathering of patrons, in the safest city of the Philippines and it could have been just like any other night – until they heard a loud bang. It was clearly an explosion nearby. A thick mountain of smoke was seen rising a few feet away, then chaos ensued.
The explosion in Davao city was one of the most tragic incidents that happened this year and unlike natural calamities, this tragedy was man-made, heartlessly targeting innocent civilians of a city dear to the current president, Rodrigo Duterte. Later reports confirmed that this was a response to Duterte’s aggressive stance against the country’s top rebel group.
Initial reports and investigations confirmed more information and we have gathered stories and updates about what happened after the tragic explosion in Davao City.
On the night of the blast
- Witnesses recalled hearing a loud bang before 11p.m. last night – the peak hour when the market was at its busiest.
- The single explosion, according to the onlookers came from the night market’s massage area located in the middle of Roxas street.
- The explosion was initially suspected to be caused by a faulty LPG tank until investigators confirmed most of the people’s speculations that it was indeed a bomb planted to intentionally harm bystanders.
- Davao’s finest police force and emergency personnel hurriedly reported to the scene less than an hour after the tragedy. News began circulating online, alerting everyone of what happened.
- The teams include Davao City 911 members as well as the Philippine Army. With them were experts from Explosive Ordnance Division (EOD) and Scene of the Crime Operations (SOCO).
- Ten people died on the spot and other casualties were brought to the nearest hospital, the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).
- Reports confirmed that at least 67 people were injured, a majority of them obtaining serious shrapnel wounds.
- SPMC staff reported that 15 victims were in critical condition – most of them had to undergo direct surgery.
- One of the victims, a pregnant woman, is still in critical condition.
Saturday morning: Aftermath
- On the next day, 3 died in the hospital after sustaining serious injuries from the explosion.
- As of Saturday morning, 14 people have died and 67 were injured although reports from different sources vary.
- Martin Andanar, the president’s communications secretary revealed that some possible components of improvised explosive device (IED) were found at the site of the explosion.
- The entire city was placed on lockdown as authorities were on high alert. In addition, checkpoints were positioned not only in Davao but also nearby towns to monitor people who go in and out of the city.
- As investigations progressed, Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) owned up to the attack.
Abu Sayyaf and other bomb threats
- Reports on the following day after the attack in Davao city confirmed that the ASG rebel group is claiming responsibility.
- According to the group’s Abu Rami, spokesperson, the Davao blast is a “call for unity to all mujahideen in the country” as a response to the Duterte administration’s all-out-war against ASG in Mindanao.
- Rami also warned the public that there will be more attacks in the coming days.
- The police, in relation to this, reminded citizens to stay away from crowded areas as these are strategic places for a bomb attack.
- The president earlier warned the public of such threat and what happened last night in his hometown triggered a more aggressive force from Duterte when he declared a “state of lawlessness”.
UPDATE: LATEST REPORT claims that Abu Sayyaf DISOWNS the attack, stating that ally was behind the bombing.
President declares State of Lawless Violence
- President Rodrigo Duterte, the former mayor of Davao City vowed to protect his city and the rest of the country.
- One of his measures to ensure such is by declaring a nationwide State of Lawless Violence. It was later on explained by Special Assistant to the President Bong Go that the state of lawlessness will be implemented and will cover the entire Philippines.
- Duterte clarified however that, “it’s not martial law but I am inviting now the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the military and the police to run the country in accordance with my specifications”.
- He also acknowledge that there is a crisis of killings in the country, and, as he added, “there seems to be the environment of lawlessness.”
- Under this declaration, there will be assigned checkpoints in terrorist hot spots especially Mindanao. The public should also expect an increased military presence in the streets.
- However, Duterte expressed that NO curfews and NO suspensions of the writ of habeas corpus will be implemented.
UPDATED LIST OF INJURED PERSONS
1. Cartagenas, Rosa
Davao Doctor’s Hospital
1. Lopez, Sherry
2. Palima, Haemaccel
3. Palima, Daryl
4. Ang, Mary Jane
5. Sobrecarey, Reyna Joy
6. Saiyon, Perliza
7. Fuerte, Marivic
8. Ms. A
1. Usman, Junaeb
2. Jeukarnin, On Palao
Southern Philippines Medical Center
1. Carayao, Jerome
2. Magardino, Jay
3. Bansil, Jeramil
4. Bansil, Myrna
5. Loreto, Joel
6. Claro, Annie Lee
7. Tagadaya, Princess
8. Cayao, Samuel
9. Cruz, Mary Grace
10. Gallardo, Julino
11. Masucat, Wilfredo
12. Salusugan, Joan Marie
13. Tayao, Samuel
14. Cruz, Mary Grace
15. Malang, Raihana
16. Rosal, Jenalyn
17. Magandig, Joy
18. Merioles, Gleen
19. Kimberly (from Tibungco)
20. Puton, Mylene
21. Cape, Jean
22. Sarong, Trisha
23. Cruz, April Ann
24. Lamban, Losario
25. Larida, Dennis
26. Tagadaya, Steven
27. Esterno, Joel
28. Manalo, Fatima
29. Mr. B
30. Kara, Angeline
Davao Medical School Foundation Hospital
1. Egbus, Michael
2. Rodriguez, Reezabeela
3. Rodriguez, Camille
San Pedro Hospital
1. Grecia, Anji Laura
2. Tumampos, Jay
3. Balili, Marieta
4. Reyes, Joanna
5. Torres, Donny
6. Goc-ong, Brando
7. Nacario, Erickson
8. Cabaral, Glenn
9. Campos, Errol
10. Uy, Flordeliza
11. Caniba, Jamil
12. Esportono, Lilibeth
13. Samonh, Dionane
14. Artigos, Melvin
15. Ampaso, Eldy
16. Manan, Farusi
17. Nacario, Emelita
18. Tandang, Karen
19. Bernales, Liezel
20. Padernal, Antonio
21. Merioles, Jasmin
Source: City Government of Davao
In a statement released by Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, she assured that they, “will not be terrorized by this heinous crime and I call on all Dabawenyos to unite and let us help each other rise from this senseless incident.”
She also informed the public that a memorial will take place at 4:00PM today at the explosion site. The mayor invited everyone to offer flowers and prayers for the victims of the tragedy.