Reward increased for capture of North Cotabato bombers
KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato – The reward for information leading to the arrest of people behind a bombing that killed one person and wounded 16 others in the town of Kabacan Sunday night went up to P200,000 on Monday when the town’s mayor added P100,000 to the reward put up by the North Cotabato provincial governor right after the blast.
“The provincial leadership condemns such barbaric act,” North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza said in announcing she was putting up a P100,000 reward for the capture of the perpetrators Sunday night. “It is downright disappointing to see innocent lives affected by this cowardly act. This is insane.”
“As your governor, I am hurt and angry. The government invested so much resources and developmental programs to bring peace and order in North Cotabato. Unfortunately, there are those who want to sabotage all our sincere efforts,” she told reporters.
Kabacan Mayor Herlo Guzman announced Monday morning he was also offering P100,000 for the same purpose.
Monique Mantawil, 19, a development communication student at the University of Southern Mindanao, died while being transported to a hospital in Davao City, according to Senior Insp. Jarwin Castroverde, acting Kabacan police chief.
Castroverde said the improvised bomb was fashioned from a 60-mm or 81-mm mortar shell and was set off at 7 p.m. while people were walking near the overpass in front of the Kabacan Central Pilot Elementary School.
The area is surrounded by food stalls and ukay-ukay (used clothing) tents.
Lt. Col. Audie Edralin, 7th Infantry Division chief, said an Army ordnance team found another improvised explosive devise on the overpass and managed to defuse it.
Military and police officials said they believed the bombing was intended to divert government forces pursuing members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in nearby town of Pikit, also in North Cotabato.
“The bomb, which was set off through a mobile phone, has the signature of the BIFF,” Edralin said.
Over the weekend, two persons died when they were hit by a mortar shell at the height of a skirmish between BIFF and government soldiers.
Police authorities in the province have yet to solve the bombing of a church of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines that killed three people last Oct. 8.
Aside from BIFF, the communist New Peoples’ Army and criminal syndicates operate in the province.
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