Serendra blast fatalities identified

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Police examine the scene after an explosion ripped through an apartment in the upscale district of Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines, Friday, May 31, 2013. A loud explosion ripped through an apartment in Manila on Friday night, and a radio report said at least three people were killed by falling debris that hit a passing delivery van. AP

MANILA, Philippines—The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Saturday identified the three people who were killed in an explosion that rocked a condominium in upscale Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

This as the NDRRMC withdrew its earlier statement that three others were killed in the explosion late Friday that knocked out the wall of a Serendra condominium unit, sending a huge chunk of rubble hurtling to the street where it crushed a delivery van, killing the three men inside.

“Only three are confirmed dead instead of six which was previously reported,” the NDRRMC said, adding the earlier statement was inaccurate.

The fatalities were Jeffrey Umali Cunanan, 32; Marlon Castillo Bandola, 28; and Salvador Natividad Malda, 42, it said.

The three were inside an Abenson delivery van when the chunk of rubble fell on the vehicle.

Five others were injured—one suffered burns, three had minor injuries, and one was traumatized, the NDRRMC said. They were all brought to St. Luke’s Global City hospital for treatment.

Among those injured was a US national who was hit by flying glass, said Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.

Roxas said authorities were still trying to assess what had triggered the blast but that initial investigations found no evidence of a bomb.

“We still have not seen any triggering device of any kind among the debris,” Roxas told reporters hours after the explosion in a fifth floor unit in the high-end condominium, while bomb-sniffing dogs had found no sign of explosives.

“We are not ruling out anything,” he told reporters just before touring the shattered apartment.

Hours after the blast, debris from the building still littered the area, with some pieces of rubble hurled dozens of meters by the force of the blast.

The once-bustling area around the condominium remained cordoned off as police and fire investigators searched the building.

Roxas said they would treat the area as a crime scene to preserve evidence until they had determined the cause of the blast.

The condominium, located in an upper-class residential development called “the Fort” had been evacuated while it underwent an inspection, he added.

The explosion took place just a few meters away from a popular area of restaurants, bars and shops that attracts thousands of people at the weekend. With Agence France-Presse

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