MANILA, Philippines - Another explosion struck a key province in Mindanao on Thursday morning. No one was hurt in the blast.
Senior Superintendent George Tuson, chief of the Tacurong City Police Office in Sultan Kudarat province, said that the explosion took place near the Land Bank of the Philippines along the Tacurong-Marbel Highway in Barangay Poblacion at around 7 a.m.
Tuson said that prior to the blast, the police force received an intelligence report of an impending bomb attack in the city.
Senior Superintendent Rolly Balquin, Sultan Kudarat police director, said that the blast was caused by an improvised explosive dvice (IED).
Balquin said that the Sultan Kudarat police's explosive and ordnance operatives have yet to determine the components of the bomb.
The provincial police director cited that according to the intelligence report, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) will plant bombs somewhere in the city.
“The report was that several IEDs would be planted and eventually set off in the city,” Balquin said.
He said that police units around the province and in the city have been put on full alert.
“We’ve intensified our security and intelligence operations in the province and all our units are doubling their vigilance right now to avert these plots,” Balquin added.
Tuson said that they are looking into the possibility that the blast is related to the recent signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Aside from the BIFM, the faction of Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari threatened that they will continue their struggle for an independent state despite the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
Third explosion since signing
Last week, Mindanao was hit by two explosions, particularly in Cagayan de Oro City and Zamboanga Sibugay province.
Two people were killed when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near the entrance of Maxandrea Hotel in downtown Cagayan de Oro City around 2 a.m. on Thursday last week.
Two policemen who were preparing to inspect the package containing the bomb at the scene were injured in the blast as they were just a few meters away when it exploded.
Seven hours earlier, another explosive device went off in a garment shop in Imelda town of Zamboanga Sibugay, injuring 14-year-old Alraffy Barabadan.
Hours after the explosion at the hotel in Cagayan de Oro, police retrieved another IED, which was placed under a vehicle parked in a street adjacent to the hotel.
Chief Superintendent Gil Hitosis, director of the Northern Mindanao Regional Police, had said that police investigators are checking the explosions' link.
“We are checking the possible link of the explosions in Zamboanga and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), as we all know the Philippine government has an ongoing peace deal with a group while the other group feels disgruntled. But let me clarify that as of now we have no strong evidence linking the explosion to the peace deal,” he said.