CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (3RD UPDATE) -- At least six people died while 37 others were injured in an explosion in front of a bistro in Cagayan de Oro City Friday night, police said.
The explosion occurred in front of Kyla's Bistro at Limketkai Center at around 11 p.m.
The fatalities were identified as Misamis Oriental board member Roldan Lagbas, medical representatives Anthony Canete, Ryan Etoce and Emmanuel Palafox, Dr. Erwin Malanay, and Antonio Paredes.
The doctor and the three medical representatives from Sandoz Philippines Corporation were in the city to attend the convention of the Philippine College of Chest Physicians.
All six of them were having drinks inside the bistro when the blast occurred.
Noel Arcenas, a sound system operator, said the area was packed with customers watching a live band.
|Police comb through the site of the bombing in Cagayan de Oro on Friday night which left 6 people dead and 27 injured. The bomb ripped through a row of upscale bars and restaurants in the city. Photo by Froilan Gallardo for ABS-CBNnews.com
Meanwhile, the injured victims are still being treated at the hospital, with one or two of them in critical condition, according to Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno.
The Cagayan de Oro Police said the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED), which was made from an 81mm mortar round and placed inside a black sling bag.
Witnesses said the man who carried the black sling bag had ordered a beer before going out of the restaurant, leaving behind his bag.
Authorities have already formed a special investigation task force to identify the perpetrators and the motive behind the explosion.
They have also intensified checkpoints across the city.
Police already have a cartographic sketch of the suspect but they refused to release it for now.
Moreno revealed that they received threats early this month but it is too early to say if the incidents are connected.
"We are saddened by what happened. We are doing our best to address this," Moreno told ANC Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) condemned the incident, noting that over a thousand doctors are currently in Cagayan de Oro City for the convention.
"We condemn to the highest degree this dastardly act of violence against our people... Over a thousand doctors from all over the country who are members of the Philippine College of Chest Physicians and the Philippine Society of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, both specialty societies of the PMA, are in Cagayan de Oro City for their conventions. Our allied health professionals who are members of the Philippine Dental Association (PDA) are also holding an activity there in the same city," PMA President Dr. Leo Olarte said in a statement Saturday.
The PMA also called on Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas to protect the health professionals in the area and immediately take action to prevent any similar incident in the future. -- With report from Rod Bolivar, ABS-CBN News Cagayan de Oro