Friday, October 19, 2007

What's Happening in Makati City?

At least 8 dead in Makati blast
Glorietta mall explosion also wounds 119 persons
Could be chemical explosive, investigators say

At least eight people were killed and 119 others were wounded when a powerful explosion rocked the Glorietta Mall in Makati City yesterday afternoon.

A powerful bomb exploded at around 1:20 pm at the parking area for delivery vehicles near the entrance of Glorietta 2 building, shattering the mall’s glass door entrances and damaging several vehicles in the vicinity.

Witnesses said the explosion appeared to have centered on an escalator which was near a cellphone repair shop.

Police investigators identified three of the fatalities who were killed on the spot as Janine Marcos, Alan dela Cruz and Nestor Perigrina.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Avelino I. Razon Jr., said that the explosion was "likely caused by a bomb" and not a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tank.

Reynald A. Rosero, deputy chief of the Philippine Bomb Data Center, said the bomb used had highly explosive chemicals.

As this developed, police and military forces in Metro Manila were placed on red alert following the incident.

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director Geary Barias reported last night a bomb threat in three hospitals in Makati. The bomb threats were called in at around 7:30 p.m. last night to the Ospital ng Makati in Ayala, Ospital ng Makati in Rembo and the Makati Medical Center.

Razon ordered police commanders in Metro Manila to secure vital facilities such as the Light Railway Transit (LRT), Metro Rail Transit (MRT), communication facilities and other possible targets of terrorist attacks following the explosion.

Barias earlier said at a media briefing near the bomb blast site that they were still conducting an investigation and would not comment further.

"Malaking pagsabog ito, maaring hindi lang LPG. This was a bomb. But beyond that we can’t say anything else yet because we are still investigating. What I can say is that it was not caused by an LPG. Other than that we cannot speculate on the nature of origin of the explosion," Barias told reporters, pointing out though that they still have to complete their post-blast investigation to determine the cause of the explosion.

A Reuters report, quoting unnamed sources, said traces of C4 plastic explosives were found at the location. The bomb appeared to have been left near a cellphone repair shop at the bottom of an escalator, they said.

Barias said the explosion tore a 200square meter hole through the second level of the Glorietta 2 building, filling the ground floor with debris. He pointed out that the blast did not leave a crater.

He added that the bridge way connecting Glorietta 2 and Park Square 2 across the street also had some of its frames sticking out. Within the approximately ten meters from the blast site, several restaurants also sustained damages, mostly shattered glass panels.

As of 5 pm yesterday, the NCRPO chief said SWAT personnel were still scouring the immediate vicinity of the blast site for possible unexploded devices.

"Posibleng may mga tao pang naiwan sa loob kaya tsine-tsek pa naming mabuti yung area na yun na punung puno ng debris," he said.

As of 5 p.m., more than 40 people were being treated at the Makati Medical Center for injuries from the explosion while 31 others were rushed to the Ospital ng Makati (OSMAK).

Witness Tony Peredo, 37-year-old mall goer, said in an interview that the building shook for several seconds after a loud blast. What followed was mayhem as terror-stricken mall goers ran towards the nearest exits, toppling others on their way.

"Nasa second floor ako, ang lakas nung sumabog. Tapos umuga yung floor parang lindol," Peredo said.

Alfonso Reyes, spokesman of mall owner Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), said the portion of Glorietta 2 where the bomb exploded and the adjacent areas will remain closed indefinitely as engineers check the building’s structural integrity. The nearby Landmark mall was also closed late yesterday afternoon.

"As soon as the authorities give the green light, we will let people go back inside and retrieve their personal belongings. As of now our main priority is to extend full medical assistance to those hurt and injured," he said.

He said that they have not received any warnings or threats of a possible mall attack.

Reyes assured relatives of the victims of the blast that ALI will shoulder the hospital expenses of blast victims.

Meanwhile, Mayor City Mayor Jejomar C. Binay asked police authorities yesterday to be thorough in their investigation on the blast.

Binay issued the statement from Fukuoka, Japan where he is attending the Asian Scouting Conference.

He said that the investigation should be seen as credible, impartial and thorough in order to dispel speculations about a possible link between the explosion and recent political developments.

He said that given the present political situation, it is not easy to dismiss these speculations.

Search and rescue operations were ongoing as of early last night and authorities said the operations were likely to continue until today.

Manila has largely been spared a spate of bomb attacks by Muslim rebels that have plagued the southern Mindanao region.

But it has been hit in the past. A series of bomb blasts in 2000 killed at least 22 people.

In February 2004, more than 100 people were killed when a bomb planted by Abu Sayyaf rebels sank a ferry near Manila Bay, the country’s worst terror attack. (Felix Mediavillo)

Airports placed under full alert

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was placed under full alert yesterday following the Glorietta bomb blast.

Airport general manager Alfonso Cusi, who is also the concurrent chair of the Airport Security Center, decided to increase the alert level at the NAIA Terminals 1 and 2 and at the Manila Domestic Airport.

"Even while the investigation of the blast is in progress, we have decided to increase the alert level at the NAIA as a precautionary measure. We do not want to be complacent." Cusi said.

The airport chief ordered the deployment of members of the Airport Police Department to undertake more frequent patrol of the Aircraft Movement Areas, increase the visibility outside Terminal areas, strictly implement access control and challenge procedures to intensify intelligence and monitoring tasks at the cargo warehouses within the NAIA complex.

NDCC activates operations center in Makati City

The National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) yesterday activated an operations center in Makati City.

"The NDCC has activated (an operations) center just to give LGU support regarding the incident," Office of Civil Defense deputy administrator Dr. Anthony Golez said. "We are also giving financial assistance to the victims," he added.

Golez, who was touring hospitals where victims were possibly taken, said they were still not able to tell the identities of the victims. "It doesn’t look good," Golez said, describing how the victims’ bodies looked.

Hightened alert ordered but it’s business as usual for MRT, LRT systems

There was a heightened security alert but it was business as usual at the railway systems in Metro Manila despite the bombing incident at the Glorietta 2 mall in Ayala Center, Makati City.

Ret. Gen. Roberto Lastimoso, general manager of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) said operations went on normally at the EDSA system but stricter security measures were implemented.

Lastimoso said the stringent security measures were also enforced in anticipation of the usual Friday crowd taking the MRT-3.

Stricter security measures were also implemented at the Lines 1 (Monumento-Baclarn) and 2 (Santolan,PasigRecto,Manila) of the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) according to its media relations officer, Jinky Jorgio.

Robles appealed to passengers to be patient with the stringent security measures in LRT stations since they are also for their own good.

It would be remembered that the Blumentritt Station of the LRTA’s Monumento-Baclaran line suffered a terrorist attack in Dec. 30, 2000 where 22 passengers were killed and 104 others were injured in what would come to be known as "Rizal Day Bombing."(JC Bello Ruiz)



My said...

Nagulat nga ako nang mabasa ko ang news na ito kahapon. Sana hindi naman kagagawan ng mga terorista. Btw, naninindig balahibo kapag naririnig itong kanta ni Mandy Moore na ito. Ganda kc, bagay sa boses niya.

pazing said...

diwa, ginawa ko nang comment box yong cbox mo. hehehe. yun G2, nadaan namin, ano kaya yong eksaktong pagsabog ng G2 eh dumaan kami, sapul sana yong sasakyan! waahhhh. kakatakot na talaga ngayon...

diwatangbyaning said...

Anong nangyari? Terorista ba? O may nag luto lang at nakalimutang i-off ang gaas? lol...

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