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10 hurt in North Cotabato blast - police

June 8, 2007 3:12pm

Ten people were wounded in an explosion past noon Friday at a bus terminal in Matalam, North Cotabato, police said.

Reports gathered from the Matalam Police Station said the incident happened at 12:35 noon inside a People's Transit Corporation bus (body number 7017), which was about to leave the public bus terminal of said town.

Initial investigation disclosed that the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) and was believed to have been triggered by a cellular phone.

The IED was allegedly placed by an unknown suspect at the left side of the upper carrier of the bus, which was driven by a certain Moises Relacion, 46.

Police identified the wounded victims as Roy Firma, 28; Therese Balcita, 37; Gilbert Tejero, 21; Raul Sahulga, 30; Jocelyn Bernalte; Alover dela Peña, 21; Catherine Tillado, 27; Jeffery Alcade, 21; Melbert Helbolingo; and Ricardo Dordas.

Firma and Balcita were brought to Babol General Hospital of said municipality; Tejero, Sahulga and Bernalte were taken to Estillore Medical Clinic and Hospital, also of Matalam; while Dela Peña, Tillado, Alcade, Helbolingo, and Dordas were brought to Amas Provincial Hospital in Kidapawan City for medical treatment.

Police said all victims were bystanders at the bus terminal and were not among the 30 passengers of the bus.

The explosion caused heavy damages at the rear portion of the bus.

Police could not immediately say the possible motive for the incident, although it disclosed that the People's Transit Corporation is an affiliate of the Weena Bus, owned by Bernardo Valdevieso, which had been attacked in the past.

As of posting time, investigation was still ongoing at the blast site, police said.

The United States had warned its citizens in the Philippines last June 1 of possible terror attacks in North Cotabato province. - GMANews.TV
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