Davao maintains red alert status after Bukidnon bombing

Dec. 10, 2014
Davao City – Police authorities here said that the city is still on red alert status after the bus bombing incident in Maramag, Bukidnon that instantly killed 10 and injured 42 others.
Reports said most of the victims were high school students of Central Mindanao University.
Speaking before media Wednesday, Davao City Police chief Senior Superintendent said “we are not lowering our red alert in the city, in fact we are enhancing police presence and visibility on the streets and areas of convergence. We are imposing stricter checkpoints especially in populated areas like malls and churches to avoid this kind of incident”.
However, although strict inspections are imposed on bus terminals, the Philippine National Police  (PNP) admitted that they are having difficulty in monitoring the buses especially those who pick up passengers along the way.
“If I can remember it right, they are not allowed to pick-up passengers along the way, but we cannot stop these kind of buses,” said Supt. Tony Rivera, spokesperson of PNP Region XI.
Rivera said that they can monitor airconditioned buses because they only pick up passengers from terminals.
He said that they are doing coordination with big companies including plantations, corporations and others to pre-empt this kind of incident.
Rivera said that they needed the cooperation of the civilians as well to at least avoid such incident, since “it is really hard to determine on when the terrorist will attack”.
Task Force Davao is also doing mobile checkpoints and bomb awareness seminars among drivers and bus conductors.
“Everybody should be involved. If there are suspicious passengers, report directly to the authorities to avoid such incident,” said Colonel Macairog Alberto,  chief of Task Force Davao.
According to Brig. Gen. Alexander Balutan, Deputy Commander of Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) is believed to be the group behind the attack.
“Based on the historical, technical signature of the bombing incident, it points that it is the hand work of the BIFF,” Balutan said.
In a news report however, spokesman of BIFF, Abu Misry Mama said they “have no interest in attacking civilians.”
The city was also put on red alert after the successive blasts in North Cotabato last month.
Last November 16, a blast in front of Pilot Elementary School in Kabacan, North Cotabato killed one and wounded 17 people, majority of whom were students of the University of Southern Mindanao. (with reports from Sarah Grace Andaya, Davao Today Intern)
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