MANILA, Philippines (7th UPDATE) – An improvised explosive device (IED) explosion rocked Isulan town, the official provincial capital of Sultan Kudarat, as it celebrated its Hamungaya Festival on Tuesday, August 28.
The IED blast occurred at around 8:34 pm in Barangay Kalawag 3, in front of J and H Marketing along the national highway which passed through an area of the Isulan town proper where people flocked for ukay-ukay shopping, police said.
As of 11:55 pm Tuesday, one person was reported dead while 36 were wounded, police said.
A Wednesday morning, August 29, update said 2 died while 37 were hurt, according to Isulan police chief Superintendent Celestino Daniel.
Another wounded victim died however, bringing the total number of fatalities to 3 as of Thursday, August 30. Of the 36 wounded, 15 have been discharged from the hospital as of Thursday, police said. (READ: 7-year-old boy among dead after Sultan Kudarat blast)
One of the fatalities was identified as 52-year-old Lenie Ombrog. She was pronounced dead at the Holy Nazarene Hospital before midnight.
Among the wounded, 9 were taken to the Holy Nazarene Clinic and 20 others to the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Hospital.
Daniel told Rappler in a phone interview their initial probe points to the bomb being placed beneath a motorcycle parked in the area before it exploded.
Daniel added they still have no groups to name as behind the bombing, but added they are already pursuing leads on "a few people (ilang tao)."
According to Sultan Kudarat police deputy chief for operations Police Senior Inspector Arnel Ligada, the town is currently observing the Hamungaya Festival, which celebrates "maaliwalas na pamumuhay" (prosperous living).
The festival began on Monday, August 27, and is only set to conclude on Thursday.
A bomb reportedly exploded in a night market in front of Carlitos Restaurant in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat at 8:35PM. 34 patients were transported to 4 nearby hospitals and our chapter provided 5 units of blood for transfusion. pic.twitter.com/kHBtlEVZBh — Richard J. Gordon (@DickGordonDG) August 28, 2018
Our team is closely coordinating with the PNP on the incident and doing assessment on the ground. Keep safe everyone! pic.twitter.com/z3QfSZH5Jc — Richard J. Gordon (@DickGordonDG) August 28, 2018
Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.