MALACAÑANG has vowed to “get to the bottom” of the deadly blast in front of a shopping mall in Cotabato City at the “soonest possible time.”
“We empathize with the families, relatives and friends of those who suffered from this unhappy occurrence. To them we vow that we will get to the bottom of this at the soonest possible time,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
The explosion left two civilians dead and at least 34 others injured as it ripped through stalls in front of the South Seas Mall on New Year’s Eve.
Panelo also called on the public not to speculate to avoid sowing fear and panic.
“Authorities are already investigating the incident. In the meantime, we call on everyone not to speculate as this may only sow unnecessary fear and panic among our people,” he said.
The Philippine National Police said that an improvised explosive device (IED) was used in the explosion, which blew up stalls selling firecrackers in front of the mall. After the blast, authorities also defused another IED found at the mall’s second floor baggage counter.
Police also said that the IED used in the blast is similar to the signature composition of explosives used by ISIS-inspired local terrorist groups.