₱200,000 reward for bus bombers
ZAMBOANGA CITY – The city government is offering a ₱200,000 reward for the swift arrest of suspects behind Friday’s bombing of a passenger bus here.
Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar made the offer through her social media page after she was informed that a bomb exploded aboard a passenger bus at around 2:15 p.m. at a terminal on Tomas Claudio St., Barangay Zone 1.
Salazar is currently out of the country as she is leading an 82man trade mission delegation to the 12th China-Association of Southeast Asian Nations Exposition in Nanjing, China.
The explosion killed Fatima Imbraida, 14, of Sibuco, Zamboanga del Norte. Thirtythree others were injured.
Salazar said the bombing “is an act of injustice to innocent civilians.”
She said the police and Task Force Zamboanga are taking the lead in investigating “this act of extortion in order to bring justice to the victims of the blast.”
“We call on all bus companies and all other public conveyance to strictly enforce inspection and other security measures,” she said.
The ill-fated bus belonged to D’ Biel Transit Co. owned by the family of Councilor Luis Biel III, who is with Salazar and other city government officials in China.
The bus had just arrived and unloaded passengers at the terminal coming from Barangay Labuan, 36 kilometers west of this city, when the explosion occurred.
Acting city Mayor Cesar Iturralde said the local government has mobilized its personnel and resources to assist the victims, especially in their medical needs.
Meanwhile, police said a group of extortionists with ties to the Abu Sayyaf was responsible for the explosion.
City police spokesman Chief Insp. Joel Tuttuh said police have recovered text messages from the group to the D’ Biel Transit Co. asking for ₱ 500,000 in protection money and a ₱20,000 monthly protection fee.
One of the text messages, according to Tuttuh, said that should the company fail to give them money, they will bomb one of their buses.
Tuttuh added that they are following a good lead that could lead them to arrest of the suspects.
He said a close circuit television camera in the area has captured the person who planted the bomb aboard the bus upon its arrival.
The suspect was seen talking on a cell phone with someone getting instructions. After planting the bomb, he ran away and about two minutes later, the bus exploded.