MANILA (1June2013/PNA) – Three people died and five, including a US citizen and two minors were injured Friday night when a mystery blast rocked Serendra Condominium at the upscale Global City, police said Saturday.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said the cause of the explosion was still being looked into by security authorities.
Roxas told a press briefing at the blast scene in Two Serendra condominium in Taguig City, the cause of blast has still to be determined.
Three teams of bomb sniffing dogs also have not found any residue of bombs or explosive devices in the area.
Roxas said: “Kagabi during the paneling process in-inspect ng bomb sniffing dogs from Southern Police District, National Capital Region Police Office, and Philippine Army pero hindi sila nag-register ng pagka-detect ng bomba.
“‘Di pa ma-rule out na hindi bomba, pero ang masasabi ko ay hindi nag-register sa bomb-sniffing dogs, ibig sabihin hindi kumahol, hindi umubo; this is significant but not determined pero tinitingnan pa rin lahat.”
He added: “We are not ruling out anything.
“But as of now, investigators have not found any triggering device in the debris. Patuloy inaaral ng SOCO at BFP yung burn patterns, shattering, kung ano kailangang force … Sa ngayon wala pang nakikitang triggering device.”
Roxas said the people in the two adjacent buildings were evacuated and turned off utilities to be checked by DPWH “Di papabalikin hanggang hindi nasisiguro na ligtas na.”
Roxas said the explosion, at unit 501 of building B at Two Serendra in Bonifacio Global City, happened at 8:05 p.m. Friday.
Three persons on board a delivery van passing through McKinley Parkway were killed by the debris that fell on the van.
Roxas said the fatalities were all employees of Abenson and were identified as Salimar Natividad, 41, driver, of San Jose del Monte Bulacan; Jeffrey Umali, 33, of Nueva Ecija; and Marlon Baldiola, 29, of Carmona, Cavite, both helpers.
Among the injured, Angelito San Juan of Unit 501, where the blast apparently occurred, was brought to the ICU in St Luke’s Taguig.
He is in stable condition, Roxas told the news briefing.
He was on his way out of the unit when the blast occurred.
Other injured victims were brought to St. Luke’s Hospital as Allen Poole, a US citizen, 67 (hometown address not immediately available) and who lives on the 6th floor of the building; Louise Lorenzo, 9, a passerby who was discharged by the hospital hours later; Janette Bonjock, a minor who is still at St Luke’s; and April Joy Garcia, 19, also discharged Friday night.
Roxas said investigations also revealed that San Juan had complained that his unit was “hot” or there was a feeling of “suffocation” prior to the blast.
Police found a used fire extinguisher in Unit 506, as well as indications of burn marks in Unit 306 during the initial investigation.
Authorities are now reviewing CCTV footage in the building to determine the sequence of events before the explosion.
Roxas added that while investigation is ongoing, the street of Mckinley parkway will be closed to motorists but in the other areas across Bonifacio Global City, business goes on as usual.
Ayala Land Inc President Antonino Aquino said the lease contract of San Juan shows that he is leasing the unit from May 31 to June 9.
Aquino said the building has been evacuated and the residents are being taken cared of and provided with lodging while the incident is being investigated.
He added that they will give full cooperation to the authorities to determine the cause of the incident.
“Kami po ay makikipagtulungan sa ating pamahalaan upang maging maayos ang imbestigasyon,” Aquino said, adding that will also give assistance to the victims.
For her part, Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano Saturday vowed to render the necessary assistance to the families of those hurt and killed from Friday night’s explosion.
She also expressed her heart-felt condolences to the relatives of the fatalities, particularly the three delivery van occupants who lost their lives when a large slab of concrete from the posh condo crashlanded on their passing vehicle.
“Nais ko pong ipaaabot sa ngalan ng lahat ng kababayan namin dito sa Taguig ang taus-pusong pakikiramay sa lahat ng mga naulila ng mga nasawi sa trahedyang nangyari kahapon,” said Mayor Cayetano who also present at the blast scene with DILG Secretary Roxas, PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima, NCRPO Chief Police Director Leonardo Espina and Antonino Aquino, President and CEO of Ayala Land Inc.
“Kami po ay nandito upang garantiyahan na ang assistance po ay ipagkakaloob ng lokal na pamahalaan ng Taguig sa tulong din po ng Ayala corporation,” she stressed.
In this regard, the local chief executive sought the media’s assistance in helping disseminate correct information regarding the incident, noting that it is important not to cause panic among the populace.
“Sapagkat ang pangyayari pong ito ay ayaw nating maging sanhi, dahilan ng pagpapanic ng ating mga kababayan,” she said.
Mayor Cayetano also thanked President Benigno Aquino III, who was there and about on the scene roughly an hour after the blast.
According to her, the president’s presence served as a huge “morale booster” to Taguigeños and the victims’ families.
“Nais ko rin pong ibigay ang taus-pusong pasasalamat ng ating kababayan sa maagap na pagtugon at walang sawang pagsuporta ng ating Pangulo sa kaganapang ito. Personal po niyang binisita ang lungsod ng Taguig,” she said.
Cayetano likewise thanked Roxas for his tireless effort in aiding the ongoing investigations.
She also bared that Ayala Corporation, the developer of the area, is giving its “100 percent cooperation” to the various government agencies to ensure a quick conduct of investigations. (PNA)