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Survivors recount horror of Davao explosion

/ 12:16 PM September 03, 2016
At least 14 people were killed in a powerful blast that ripped through a night market in Davao City on Friday evening. KARLOS MANLUPIG/INQUIRER MINDANAO

At least 14 people were killed in a powerful blast that ripped through a night market in Davao City on Friday evening. KARLOS MANLUPIG/INQUIRER MINDANAO

DAVAO CITY – They thought it was just another ordinary night at the Roxas night market.

Among those who died in the blast that killed 14 people and wounded 67 others (official figure as of 6 a.m. Saturday), was a 12-year-old boy and an unidentified woman presumed to be his mother; and a police officer. Most of those hit by the blast that hit Roxas Boulevard night market Friday night were women–including masseuses, food vendors and customers.

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Jeramil Bansil, 33, was in the middle of massaging his customer at the massage section of the night market when he heard a loud explosion. He felt that he was hit by something and suddenly discovered his world had blurred.

“Nihanap na ako panan-aw, hapdos kaayo ako nawong (My sight turned blurry, I felt the pain on my face),” said Bansil, one of the 34 patients wounded from the blast treated at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) here.

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He recalled the shouts of people, the chaos as they scampered in all directions, and the bodies sprawled on the ground.

“Wa na ko kabalo naunsa akong customer, daghan ang nangatumba, naniyagit ang mga tawo (I no longer knew where my customer went, many people fell, there was shouting all around me),” Bansil said, while hospital nurses attended to the wounds on his face.

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Just 12 meters away, Joan Marie Salugsugan, 20, a third year criminology student at the University of Mindanao, was out eating barbecue with friends, when they heard a loud blast. She looked around, saw the commotion and found her friends sprawled on the ground. It was then, when she realized her left foot was hit too.

“I stayed there, and did not move, until somebody helped me, because I was hit on my left foot,” Salugsugan said in an SPMC ward filled with blast patients.

The explosion came mainly from the massage section of the night market, said Wilfredo Masukat Jr., 22, a dim sum vendor hit by shrapnel, about 12 meters away from the blast site.

Masukat’s claim was seconded by Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan, who added that it would explain why many of those wounded were massage attendants and their customers.

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Of the 14 reported to have been killed in the explosion Friday night, 10 died instantly, while the rest died in the different hospitals in the city.

A list provided by the Southern Mindanao police office showed that three patients died at the Southern Philippines Medical Center and another one at the San Pedro Hospital.

Among the three people reported dead at the SPMC was 12-year-old boy Larida Daniel, and a still unidentified woman presumed to be his mother.

The boy died of multiple lacerated wounds in his frontal area, right shoulder and right thigh.

The woman, identified only as MS X 88 B, suffered from a cardiopulmonary arrest due to massive blood loss from the number of blast wounds she received, while another unidentified woman died in the operating room.

Dr. Ricardo Auldan, SPMC chief of clinics, said SPMC will shoulder all expenses of the blast victims.

“What we can assure you, we will shoulder all expenses,” he said, explaining that they are a government hospital and they believe it is is their responsibility to offer their services to the victims.

Of the 34 people admitted at the SPMC, 20 were women. The initial list of patients at the SPMC as of 5:30 a.m.


Mayor Sara Duterte has expressed her deepest sorrow for the victims, assured them of the government’s help, even as she organized a memorial at 4 p.m. Saturday, at the Roxas explosion site.

“We will not be terrorized by this heinous crime,” Mayor Duterte said, “I call on all Dabawenyos to unite, let us remain vigilant, please rport any and all suspicious activity, no matter how insignificant it may seem,” she said.

“I am sorry for what happened,” she told the families of the victims. “I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families of those who died last night. I would also like to reassure all of them, as well as the families of those who are injured that the City Government of Davao will assist in all their needs for hospitalization, burial, funeral and day to day expenses. I am sorry for what happened.”

She also reminded other local officials to “stay within the bounds of their official duties, according to their positions.” “Please leave me in peace to do my job and I’ll leave you to focus on your own work.” CDG

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