2 kids, 5 others hurt in vintage bomb blast near military exercise site in Tarlac
MABALACAT CITY, Pampanga––Two children and five others were injured after a vintage bomb found by a scavenger near a military base in Capas, Tarlac exploded, a belated police report said Thursday, Sept. 9.
The Tarlac police office has reported that the explosion happened around 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 in the backyard of James Laxamana, 30, in Sta. Juliana village.
Laxamana was scavenging on the same day for metal scraps at the Crow Valley military exercises site inside the Colonel Ernesto Rabina Air Base, when he found the vintage bomb, Capas police chief Lt. Col. Rey Apolonio told the Inquirer over the phone Thursday.
“James found the vintage bomb and decided to take it home and tried to disassemble it in front of his 10-year-old son Nhajiel using a hammer and pliers. The bomb exploded, and James and his son were severely injured. Five other persons were also injured,” Apolonio said.
The other victims were identified as Jackilyn Laxamana, 30; Marilou Laxamana, 50; Gershon Lxamana, 11; Arleen Salazar, 24; and Donna Torio, 53.
Apolonio said the victims were brought to the Ospital Ning Capas, but James, Nhajiel, Jackilyn, and Marilou Laxamana were transferred to the Tarlac Provincial Hospital due to serious burns and injuries.
As of Thursday, Apolonio said only James and Nhajiel Laxamana remained confined at the hospital and declared “out of danger.”
The town police chief said scavengers usually search for metal scraps along the Crow Valley and sell these to junk shops.
“This has become a form of livelihood for some residents near the Crow Valley. James found the bomb and probably thought that it was safe to dismantle it. And he did this in front of his son. Our investigators found two hammers and pliers along with the bomb’s debris,” Apolonio said.
He said the Philippine Air Force prevents scavengers from entering Crow Valley several days before and after military exercises in the area.
“But to earn money to feed their families, some scavengers sometimes hide within the Crow Valley and defy the restrictions so that they would be the first to find metal scraps after the exercises,” he said.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.