MANILA – Perpetrators of the Davao City bomb attack that killed 14 people and wounded 71 others Friday night, will be identified and made to pay for their crime, a military official said Saturday.
While the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said the “act of owning the explosion is something we expect the ASG to claim.”
“The post-blast investigation by the Philippine National Police (PNP) is underway and it is expected to come up with conclusive, official findings,” he said.
“That notwithstanding, if this was an act perpetrated by any group or by any individual, they will be made to answer for this dastardly crime,” Arevalo stressed.
He further said that the AFP, by virtue of the declaration of a “state of lawlessness” in Mindanao and the rest of the country by the Commander-in-Chief, President Rodrigo Duterte, responds to the call and is prepared to undertake the tasks to ensure public safety.
He said AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Ricardo Visaya has placed the entire AFP on red alert, directing all area commanders to coordinate with their counterparts at the PNP.
Visaya likewise ordered them to coordinate with regional directors of the Department of Interior and Local Government to convene the Regional Peace and Order Council to tackle the directive of the Commander-in-Chief, Arevalo said.
He thus asked the cooperation of the public, especially in going through checkpoints.
“We ask our people to bear with us as we dutifully but courteously conduct our checkpoints and increase our presence in some areas. Your soldiers are there to ensure that public will be safe and that no criminals or terrorists lurk in our streets and perpetrate another vicious act,” Arevalo pointed out.
“We are calling for vigilance among our people. That is our first line of defense and the ultimate measure to attain collective security. Finally, we urge our people to remain calm and continue with their normal lives as we, as a people, go through this test of our resolve to fight terrorism and criminality,” the military official said.