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Journalist recalls 4 bombing incidents in Davao in 4 decades

By BEN CAL.

MANILA, Sept. 4 -- “The deadly bombing in Davao City last Friday was not the first, but the fourth during the past 40 years, three of which I saw with my own eyes the pandemonium that broke loose as people were shouting and crying while running for their lives!”


Thus recalled veteran journalist Boy Peña, former bureau chief of the Philippines News Agency in Region XI (Davao Region), in a phone interview with this writer on Sunday.

Peña, who now works in a multinational company based in Davao City, said that the first time he witnessed a bomb explosion just a few meters away where he was standing was in the early 1970s during the Mindanao war between government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

“This was followed in the Bankeruhan explosion sometime in the 1980s and another one in the airport bombing several years later,” Peña said.

“Luckily, I survived the three bombing attacks unscathed,” he said.

Last Friday’s explosion killed at least 14 innocent people and wounded 67 others.

Peña said, “I was unaware of the bombing until a friend texted me the following morning that many people were killed and many others were wounded. I immediately turned on my TV and saw the scene of the carnage.”

The blasts in the past entered his mind and said that Davao will survive this brazen attack by terrorists.

He said that in the three earlier incidents, he experienced running for his life looking for cover.
“I was scared. At one point, the explosion took place near the PNA office in Davao City that soldiers actually sought cover at the office before they moved on toward their target a few meters away,” Peña said.

In last Friday’s explosion, Peña said he heard from his sources that the bombing was perpetrated by some people who "are friends and sympathizers of the Abu Sayyaf.”


This angle is being investigated by the military as this could also be part of a diversionary tactics by enemies of the state to divert its attention in the all-out war on terror ordered by President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Contacted for comment, Brig. Gen. Resty Padilla Jr., spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said the military “has yet to finish its blast report,” referring to the Davao bombing last Friday.

On the other hand, Peña expressed confidence that the perpetrators will be arrested soon as the military and police have intensified their manhunt for the bombing suspects.

Peña also said he saw checkpoints that have been established in many parts of Davao City and the people are cooperating with the military and police. (PNA)

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