Palace: Investigation ongoing to find perpetrators of Jolo blasts
Military personnel are seen at the scene of the explosion in Jolo, Sulu on August 24, 2020
Rep. Jericho Nograles (PBA party-list), release

Palace: Investigation ongoing to find perpetrators of Jolo blasts

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - August 24, 2020 - 5:39pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday condemned the explosions in Jolo, Sulu and assured the public that efforts are underway to identify the people behind the incident.

The explosions that rocked downtown Jolo before noon on Monday and about an hour later left 11 people, including six soldiers, a police officer and four civilians dead. The blasts also left 43 others injured, according to local authorities. 

Jolo Mayor Kherkar Tan confirmed that among those injured were 18 Army personnel, 19 civilians and six Philippine National Police personnel.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the explosion incidents in Jolo, Sulu today, which left scores dead and wounded, including soldiers. We likewise condole with the families and loved ones of those who died in these tragic incidents," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.  

"Authorities are now conducting an investigation, which includes identifying individuals or groups behind these dastardly attacks," he added.

Roque urged residents of Jolo to stay vigilant and to report suspicious personalities and unattended items in their areas.

Police said the first explosive was from an improvised bomb rigged to a motorcycle and happened at 11:53 a.m. The explosion hit a military truck parked in front Paradise Food Shop along Serantes Street in Barangay Walled City, Jolo.

Police said the other IED exploded about 1 p.m. some 100 meters away from the first explosion site.

Coast guard on red alert in region

The Philippine Coast Guard on Monday afternoon declared a "red alert" over Southwestern Mindanao, including Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

"PCG personnel in the region are augmenting the forces of the AFP and PNP in investigating the incident specifically in identifying its perpetrators, as well as in responding to casualties and in ensuring the safety of the residents against succeeding threats," it said in a statement.

"Moreover, PCG K9 units, safety inspectors, and patrol boat operators are directed to be extra vigilant in securing ports, harbors, and other waterways in the region. Several K9 units of the Coast Guard are also ready for deployment as soon as requested by the AFP."

— with a report from The STAR/Roel Pareño

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