Aquino set to visit Davao despite Mindanao violence
MANILA, Philippines – Despite the consecutive bombings in Mindanao recently, President Benigno Aquino III will push through with his trip to Davao City on Thursday, August 8.
Aquino is set to attend the Mindanao Business Conference, according to Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, who gave assurances the President is constantly updated on the security situation in the region.
Mindanao has seen 5 bombings in less than 2 weeks.
On Friday, July 26, a Cagayan de Oro explosion killed 8 and injured 46 others. It was followed by another deadly blast in Cotabato on Monday, August 5, which killed 8. On Wednesday, the day before Aquino's planned Davao trip, 3 more bombings occured – 2 in Maguindanao and one in North Cotabato, with 7 soldiers injured in one of the attacks.
The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) – a breakaway group that doesn't favor the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's peace talks with the government – has taken responsibility for the second Maguindanao explosion in Datu Piang. They are also the suspected culprits in the other Maguindanao blast.
Lacierda gave assurances all angles will be investigated in the 3 explosions, including whether they are linked to each other or to anti-peace process sentiments.
"The President said he would investigate [the blasts]. He has ordered the different security agencies," Lacierda said.
He added the government has "intensified intel gathering."
Lacierda refused to name probable perpetrators while the probe is ongoing and said there are various theories they will delve into.
A day earlier, Aquino mentioned the possibility it is "terrorists" against peace talks who are behind the CDO and Cotabato blasts. But he also said a potential criminal could be responsible for the CDO bombing, while political motives are being considered in the Cotabato incident.
Meanwhile the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of Region 10 said murder raps have been filed against 3 CDO blast suspects, although it refused to disclose their identities.
Also on Wednesday, the Senate initiated a probe into the CDO explosion where Interior Secretary Mar Roxas admitted the information they have is still raw. In the Palace, Aquino met with his security cluster for updates. – Rappler.com