FOILED BOMBING. Army and police bomb experts deactivate two improvised bombs found at the main gate of Husky Bus Co. in Cotabato City early Thursday (May 25, 2023). The firm’s buses ply the Cotabato City-Gen. Santos City route. (Photo courtesy of DXMS Radyo Bida)

COTABATO CITY – Military and police bomb experts safely deactivated at dawn Thursday two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) left near the main gate of the Husky Bus passenger terminal here.

Col. Querubin Manalang Jr., city police director, said the plastic bag containing the powerful IED and a secondary bomb inserted in another plastic container were found at about 3:40 a.m. by one of the utility personnel at the terminal.

Manalang said one IED was made of flash powder and cut concrete nails as shrapnel with a mobile phone as the blasting mechanism.
The bomb disposal units also deactivated the secondary bomb, fashioned from a rocket-propelled grenade, with a mobile phone as the triggering device, found near the terminal’s concrete fence along the national highway in Barangay Rosary Heights 10.

In an interview, Manalang said the planting of the IEDs could be part of the terrorist group’s extortion activities against Husky Bus.

The bombing attempt came while Cotabato City was hosting the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Athletic Association (BARMMAA) Meet 2023.

Manalang, however, assured the BARMMAA delegates from Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, and the Geographic Area in North Cotabato that the security sector is doing its best to prevent a similar incident.

On April 17, a brand-new double-decker Husky Bus unit of the Gen. Santos City-based Biocrest Multi-Purpose Cooperative was bombed at the Isulan bus terminal in Sultan Kudarat province, leaving six persons injured.  

A secondary bomb was found on the second deck of the bus.

No one has claimed responsibility for the Isulan bus bombing incident, but police have blamed the Dawlah Islamiya terrorist group and its ally, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), as those behind the attack, with extortion as the primary motive.

At least 15 suspects have been charged with the Isulan bus bombing incident. (PNA)