Authorities raised the security alert here following the bomb explosion before noon Sunday near a row of establishments along the national highway in Barangay Apopong that left eight people wounded.
Col. Adonis Bajao, commanding officer of the Army-led Joint Task Force GenSan, said the entire city was placed under “Alert Level 4” by the crisis management committee headed by City Mayor Ronnel Rivera.
“It was approved (by the mayor). We have doubled our security checkpoints in all entry and exit points,” Bajao said.
Supt. Adrin Gonzales, public information officer of Police Regional Office 12 (Soccsksargen), said the blast occurred at about 11:40 a.m. in front of the TGP Generics Pharmacy on the Makar junction.
He said the explosive was left beside the pharmacy and the Vic Bonito Lying-in Clinic, located at a crowded section of the Makar junction.
The blast ripped through the facade of the clinic and nearby establishments, including a branch of the Brigada Pharmacy and MLhuiller pawnshop.
Seven persons were initially reported as wounded but the PRO-12 updated the number of victims to eight as of 5 p.m.
They were identified as Jeslly Yuonne Guyos, 19, of Polomolok, South Cotabato; Anthon Fallor, 24, of Polomolok; Claire Uozoia, 24, of Koronadal City; Joana Bless Alipio, 6, of Barangay Glamang, Polomolok; Lanie Alipio 34, of Glamang, Polomolok; John Lenon Calary, 22, of Sultan Kudarat province; Felipa Regios, 63, of Barangay Apopong here; and Marlon Yadao Orabia, 30, of Olaer, Barangay Apopong.
The victims, who were brought to the St. Elizabeth Hospital for treatment, sustained “non-critical” injuries, PRO-12 said.
Witnesses said two unidentified persons who came on board a motorcycle were seen near the scene minutes before the explosion.
Chief Supt. Eliseo Rasco, PRO-12 director, said their initial investigation showed that the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device.
The police official said he has ordered the full use of resources to track down the suspects and facilitate the immediate resolution of the case. (PNA)