Roadside explosion rocks North Cotabato

Published January 27, 2021, 6:06 PM

by Keith Bacongco

DAVAO CITY – A fruit vendor was killed while five others were wounded after a suspected improvised explosive device (IED) went off in a bustling village of Sibsib in Tulunan, North Cotabato around 12:30pm Wednesday, January 27.

Police secure the blast site along the highway in Tulunan, North Cotabato where one was killed and five others were injured. (Photo courtesy of Kagawad Jojo Ortizo / MANILA BULLETIN)

P/Staff Sergeant John Ray Reporte told The Manila Bulletin over the phone the IED was believed to have exploded in front of a ticket booth that was located along the highway.

Reporte added that those injured were bystanders while no one was injured among the bus passengers.

In a separate interview, Barangay Sibsib Chairperson Benny Dazo said the IED was placed along a row of fruit stalls, and in front of a local hospital.

“According to the bus conductor, the explosion did not occur inside the bus. Otherwise, the bus sustained damage. But he admitted to us that they have been receiving threats,” said Dazo said in the vernacular while quoting the bus conductor.

The police officer also believed that the bus was the main target since the company had been receiving bomb threats before the incident.

Local barangay officials identified the lone fatality as Gina Paunan, 53, a fruit vendor. While those who were wounded were Rodel Secur, 24; Kent Lloyd Senadero, 19; Ryan Panibayo,28; Edward Odango and Ritchie Pedroso, 32. 

Dazo said the victims are now being treated at the nearby hospital as bomb experts have yet to determine the type of IED used.