PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar on Sunday ordered a massive hunt for the men behind a powerful improvised explosive device explosion in Maguindanao which injured eight civilians.
Eleazar said the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region Police Regional Office headed by Brigadier Gen. Eden Ugale has partnered with the Armed Forces in investigating the blast as well as in identifying and arresting the perpetrators as of press time.
“Inatasan ko na ang RD, PRO BAR na makipag-tulungan sa local military forces, hindi lamang sa pagsasagawa ng manhunt sa mga taong responsible dito, kundi pati na rin sa pagpapa-igting ng seguridad sa Maguindanao at ilang mga lugar kung saan maaring mangyari ang ganitong klaseng karahasan,” Gen. Eleazar said.
Sketchy reports sent to Camp Crame said the blast occurred in a covered court at the plaza of Datu Piang where a volleyball game was taking place around 3 p.m. Saturday.
No one was reported killed in the incident although the victims who suffered shrapnel wounds in different parts of their bodies were rushed to the hospital for treatment.
Authorities are still validating if the suspects had used a phone-triggered IED in the attack, Gen. Eleazar said.
The PNP chief called on residents in the area to immediately report to authorities if they noticed actions that could pose threats to the community, noting that information from citizens have been helpful for the police in preventing atrocities.
“Nanawagan din tayo sa ating mga kababayan na patuloy na makipag-tulungan sa inyong kapulisan dahil ang inyong pakikiisa ay isang mabisang sandata upang hindi mabigyan ng pagkakataon ang mga tao at grupo na maghasik ng karahasan sa ating bayan,” he said.
Officials added that the volleyball tournament was not coordinated with local authorities and the participants who are mostly members of the LGBT community obviously violated quarantine restrictions.
Investigators are checking reports that members of the group have received a threat from a radical movement allergic to seeing gays in public, said Datu Piang Mayor Victor Samama. By ALFRED DALIZON & ZAIDA DELOS REYES