17 DEAD IN DAVAO WHARF BOMBINGDavao City, April 3, 2003 -- At least 17 people were killed while more than 50 others were wounded when a bomb exploded Wednesday night near the passenger terminal of Sasa wharf in Davao City. Authorities said most of the victims were passengers of two vessels, M/V Filipinas Princess and Superferry 15, which arrived from Manila shortly before the explosion around 7 p.m. Witnesses said the bomb exploded near a van carrying passengers who had just debarked from the boats. President Arroyo last night declared Davao City and the Davao provinces as under a state of lawless violence. "Under this, I can empower the military to do things like crack down on lawless elements, terrorists. And I am doing so," she said in Dakak in Zamboanga del Norte, the last stop in her four-day roadshow featuring the Strong Republic Nautical Highway. Among the fatalities were Dulce de Guzman, a nun, Danilon Pagdapatan, 3, and another child, Puno Soling, Mike Estera, Jeremy Estera, John Ray Morales, Perla De Guzman, Rene Uyami and Albert Gumata. Doctors at the Davao Medical Center said the fatalities suffered shrapnel wounds and severe burns. Police have not yet identified the type of explosive used and have no suspects in the attack, the second to hit the city in a month. On March 4, 22 people were killed while 140 others were wounded when a bomb exploded at a waiting shed outside the Davao international airport. Police tagged members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as behind that attack. The number of fatalities in the latest blast was expected to rise as at least 50 people were still undergoing treatment at the Davao Medical Center. Radio reports said the blast destroyed a number of food stalls. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte condemned the attack. Lt. Gen. Narciso Abaya, Southern Command chief and incoming AFP chief, condemned the "inhuman act." "It is a bomb explosion. I believe it is a terrorist attack," said Chief Supt. Eduardo Matillano, head of the PNP's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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