Friday, October 19, 2007

Makati Bomb in Glorietta 2

When this sort of thing happened in the Philippines back before September 2001 no one cared or noticed. Does the West care now?

8 dead in suspected Manila mall bomb

An explosion rocked a Manila shopping mall on Friday in a suspected bomb attack, killing at least eight people and injuring dozens more, police and Red Cross officials said.

Red Cross records showed that 89 more were injured in the explosion at the Glorietta shopping centre in metropolitan Manila's financial district of Makati.

Initial police reports said the blast could have been triggered by a liquified petroleum gas (LPG) tank in one of the restaurants inside the Glorietta shopping centre but investigators began to consider a bombing after surveying the damage.

Randy Naive, who suffered deep cuts on his arms and hands from broken glass, said he was just thankful that he was able to survive the blast.

Naive said he was on the way out of the mall after window shopping when the explosion occurred.

"A few steps after I got down from the escalator, there was a deafening explosion," he said. "Then it went very dark. There was smoke, very thick smoke and I was choking."

Naive said he was lucky he felt water running from where he sat and he washed off his face to avoid choking.

"After a few minutes of darkness, I saw a light. I moved toward it slowly. I heard cries behind me but I continued moving toward the light because I could feel my arm bleeding profusely," he added. "I called for help and I saw people moving toward me."

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo convened an emergency meeting of the National Security Council to evaluate the incident.

Arroyo appealed for unity in sobriety in the light of the recent incident, noting that there were indications that the explosion was caused by a bomb.

"The police and the armed forces are on highest alert and are fielding an additional 2,000 personnel to secure our public place and to prevent possible similar occurrence," she said in a statement.

"We urge all sectors to remain vigilant as the government steps up security measures to protect our people," she added.

Deputy Director General Geary Barias, chief of the police in the Philippine capital, admitted the damage from the explosion was too extensive for an LPG blast.

"Earlier I told the media that the cause of the explosion was supposed to be an LPG," he said. "This time we are not discounting the possibility of anything."

Barias said he ordered the setting up of checkpoints in key areas. He also directed the deployment of additional police forces in shopping malls and vital installations.

Police Director General Avelino Razon, who also visited the explosion area, said he was sure that the blast was not caused by LPG.

"From the destruction that I saw, this wasn't caused by an LPG," he said. "This was a bomb, but beyond that I cannot say anything because this is still being investigated."

Alfie Reyes, spokesman for the Ayala Land Corporation which operates the mall, said it was unlikely the explosion could have occurred in one of the restaurants in the area.

"At this time we are not in a position to tell you exactly what type of explosion occurred," he said. "It does not appear at the moment that (the explosion) could have emanated from any of the restaurants."

Makati City Councillor JonJon Binay who led the rescue operations said the explosion produced a crater about eight metres wide, while the sunroof of the mall was also blown off.

Part of the walkway leading to the mall was also destroyed and debris was strewn around in the vicinity of the blast area.